388 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD
the progressive development of intelligence. Directed by an
intelligent teacher, in their physical development as much as in
the intellectual and moral, the children may, through our methods,
acquire not only a remarkably fine physical organism, but also-
the magnificence possible to the human mind.
There are still some who believe erroneously that the natural
education of little children ought to be wholly physical; but the
spirit also has its nature, and it is spiritual life which dominates
existence throughout all its stages.
Our methods take into consideration the spontaneous mental
development of children, and assist it with means derived from
observation and experience.
If physical care gives the children the chance of enjoying a
healthy body, intellectual and moral care brings them to the lofty
joys of the spirit and urges them forward to continual surprises,
to discoveries both in the environment and in the intimate world
of their soul.
These are the joys which prepare for the life of man and
which alone are capable of giving true education to the childhood
Our children are markedly different from all others met with
up till now in the subdued flock in the schools; they display the
serene aspect of those who are happy, and the fearlessness of those
who feel that they are masters of their doings. When they run to
meet visitors, they speak to them frankly, gravely holding out their
tiny little hands for a cordial handshake; they offer thanks for the
visit, received jnore with their shining eyes than with their shrill
voices; they make one fancy that they are extraordinary little men.
When they display their accomplishments in so simple and con*
fidential a manner they seem to be asking for a mother's opinion
from all those who are observing them; when, in the neighbour-
hood of two visitors who are talking together, they squat on the
ground close to their feet, and silently write their names with a
polite word of thanks, it is almost as if they wanted to express
affectionate, gratitude to those who had come to call on them.