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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPRESSIONS              387

scientific teaching, and anyone who adopts this method will open
by the use of this alone, in every school and every class, a
laboratory of experimental pedagogy.

Henceforth we must wait for the real, positive solution of all
the teaching problems of which we talk, as there have already
"been reached solutions for others, such as the liberty of the
pupils, self-education and the harmonizing of household work with
scholastic work for the common purpose of educating the children.

Turning to the practical side of the school, we have, according
to our methods, the advantage of drawing together children in
very different stages of advancement. In our first Children's
Houses, there associated together in their work little ones of two
and a half, still unable to carry out the simplest of the sense exer-
cises, and children over five, who, judged by their acquirements,
.might in a few months pass into the third class of the elementary
school. Each one of them is training himself, and carries on
according to his own individual ability. What an immense advan-
tage belongs to this method, one which would make very easy the
instruction in rural schools and in schools in small villages in the
provinces, in which there are a few children and in which many
different classes could not be formed and which would have a few
teachers. The result of our experiment is that a single mistress
can handle children who are at such varying levels as those between
three years of age in the infant school and the third class in the
elementary school. In addition to this practical advantage there
.appears another, the extreme facility with which written language
is learned, which means that illiteracy can be fought, and the
national language cultivated.

As for the mistress, she is able, without danger of exhausting
her strength, to remain all day with children who belong to such
diverse grades of development, just as in a home the mother is in
•company with her children of all ages, from morning till night, and
does not grow weary.

The children work by themselves, thus becoming endowed
with active discipline—independence in practical daily life, and