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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

372              THE DISCOVERY: OF THE CHILD

all children whose mind is undernourished, who suffer from mental
starvation.

Saying to the child " Stand still like me " does not enlighten
him. It is not with a command that one can order the complex
psycho-muscular system of an individual into the path of evolution.
In doing so, we are confusing the case with that of the man who
prefers to behave badly because of an innate bent, but who can
(within the limits of possibility) obey a firm command which directs
his will towards something different, towards an order which is
well known and. within the limits of his powers. But in the case
of the small child it is a matter of helping forward the natural
evolution of voluntary movement. All the co-ordinated move-
ments must be taught by analyzing them as far as possible and
developing them one by one. The child must be taught the various
degrees of immobility leading up to the f silence'. Included in
these are the movements of getting up and sitting down, of walking
naturally, of walking on the points of the toes, of walking OD a
line drawn on the ground whilst preserving erect balance; of
removing objects, of setting them up more or less delicately; the
complicated movements of dressing and undressing himself, which
are analyzed in the fastening together of pieces of cloth, and for
each one ,of these in the separate movements of the fingers; the
movements required for keeping the body and the surroundings
clean. Perfect immobility, and' the perfecting of movements one
after the other- must be substituted for the customary " Stand
still, keep quiet".           . : .

All these exercises which promote the co-ordination of mover
ments are done in order to reach a definite aim envisaged by the
mind. These children did not only move their muscles, but ordered
and enriched the mind. This activity, developed the will which
was built up in an environment of motives for their activity.
Although, therefore, the movements were co-ordinated, the indi^
vidual who, actively, co-ordinated them occupies the central place*
By means of these motor exercises he expanded his intelligence
aiid became ever more conscious of his environment and of himself.