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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

THE TRIUMPHAL CHARIOT                   391

rise in him to nervous disturbances and check his development.
The duty of employing oneself in the education of the very youngest
children does not have for its external aim the facilitation of their
entry into the obligatory period of instruction, but is a duty towards
the life, and therefore the health, of the child. What now interests
us to ascertain is the level of attainment which can be fixed as a
separation between the two kinds of school—the Children's House
and the Elementary School.

The children of the Children's Houses have begun four
branches of learning—drawing, writing, reading and arithmetic—
all of which will be continued by degrees in the elementary schools.
Our recent experiences may add to these: Geometry, Biology,
Geography, Grammar and others.

These branches of learning depend upon the education of the
senses, in which exist the preparations and the initial impulses of
the four branches, which germinate from them in a kind of sudden
outburst. Arithmetic is derived from a sense-exercise in estimating
dimensions, that is> the quantitative relations between things.
Drawing originates from educating the eye in the valuation of
forms and in distinguishing colours, together with the preparation
of the hand in following the outlines of specially chosen objects.
Writing begins with the more complicated group of touch exercises
in which the light hand is trained to move in specified directions,
the eye is taught to analyse outlines and abstract forms, the hearing
to perceive the sound of the voice which speaks framing the words
according to their component sounds. Reading arises from
writing, and extends the individual conquest into the wealth of
language revealed in the writing of others.

Such conquests are powerful manifestations of internal energy,
and occur like sudden irruptions; the outbreak of the higher
activities is accompanied by the enthusiasm and joy of the child.
It was not then a mere matter of dry learning, but a triumphant
manifestation of personality, which found the means for linking
up with the profound needs of life. And like an ancient Roman
conqueror who drove through the streets in his superb quadriga.