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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

380              THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

and develops his mental powers one by one, just as, by means of
movements. prepared for separately, he regulates his muscular
activity. He is not limited to psycho-sensorial gymnastics, but
prepares a special activity of spontaneous association among ideas,
an order of reasoning basing itself on positive knowledge, a
"harmonious balance of the intellect. Out of such unseen gym-
nastic work are born and developed the roots of those psychic
outbursts—which bring so much joy to the child when he makes
discoveries in the world around him, when he meditates and at the
-same time admires the new things which reveal themselves outside
himself, and the exquisite inward emotions of his growing con-
sciousness, when, finally, there is born in him almost for
•spontaneous maturing, like phenomena of interior development,
•the products of knowledge—writing and reading.

I once happened to see a child two years of age, the son of
a doctor-colleague of mine, who almost dragged himself out of
the arms of the mother who had brought him to me and flung
himself on things heaped up on his father's desk—the rectangular
"block of papers, the round cover of the inkstand. I was touched
to see this intelligent little one who was trying to do the very things
which our little ones, with so much devotion, repeat again with the
plane insets. The father and the mother drew him away, scolding
him and explaining that they found it impossible to prevent him
from meddling with his father's papers and other things—the
child was restless and naughty. How often do we see all the
children of the world when they are reproved for touching every-
thing, rebelling against every correction.

Yet it is by guiding and developing this natural instinct for
* touching everything' and for recognizing the harmony of geo-
metrical figures, that our little men of four and a half have found
the sources of so many joys and emotions in the acquirement of
self-taught writing,

.., The child who flung himself on the pile of papers, on the
inkwell and such things, trying in vain to reach his object,
.always opposed and overborne by persons stronger than himself,