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CHAPTER I NATURE AND PURPOSE OF EDUCATION Value of Scientific Knowledge.—In the practice of any intelligent occupation or art, in so far as the practice attains to perfection, there are manifested in the processes certain scientific principles and methods to which the work of the one practising the art conforms. In the successful practice, for example, of the art of composition, there are manifested the principles of rhetoric; in that of... more...

This collection of scattered thoughts and observations has little order or continuity; it was begun to give pleasure to a good mother who thinks for herself. My first idea was to write a tract a few pages long, but I was carried away by my subject, and before I knew what I was doing my tract had become a kind of book, too large indeed for the matter contained in it, but too small for the subject of which it treats. For a long time I hesitated... more...

HOW THE CHILD DEVELOPS Condition at Birth Let us see, then, exactly what his condition is. In the first place, he is, as Virchow, an authority on physiological subjects declares, merely a spinal animal. Some of the higher brain centers do not yet exist at all, while others are in too incomplete a state for service. The various sensations which the baby experiences—heat, light, contact, motion, etc.—are so many stimuli to the... more...

CHAP. I. On the Importance of establishing the Science of Educationon a solid Foundation. Education is at present obviously in a transition state. The public mind has of late become alive to the importance of the subject; and all persons are beginning to feel awake to the truth, that something is yet wanting to insure efficiency and permanence to the labours of the teacher. The public will not be satisfied till some decided change has taken... more...

CHAPTER I TEACHING SCHOOL   Life and living compared.—There is a wide difference between school-teaching and teaching school. The question “Is she a school-teacher?” means one thing; but the question “Can she teach school?” means quite another. School-teaching may be living; but teaching school is life. And any one who has a definition of life can readily find a definition for teaching school. Much of the... more...


THE CHIEF AIM OF EDUCATION. What is the central purpose of education? If we include under this term all the things commonly assigned to it, its many phases as represented by the great variety of teachers and pupils, the many branches of knowledge and the various and even conflicting methods in bringing up children, it is difficult to find a definition sufficiently broad and definite to compass its meaning. In fact we shall not attempt in the... more...

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INTRODUCTION In times of anxiety and discontent, when discontent has engendered the belief that great and widespread economic and social changes are needed, there is a risk that men or States may act hastily, rushing to new schemes which seem promising chiefly because they are new, catching at expedients that have a superficial air of practicality, and forgetting the general theory upon which practical plans should be based. At such moments... more...

Do Readers Read?   Those who are interested in the proper use of our libraries are asking continually, “What do readers read?” and the tables of class-percentages in the annual reports of those institutions show that librarians are at least making an attempt to satisfy these queries. But a question that is still more fundamental and quite as vital is: Do readers read at all? This is not a paradox, but a common-sense question,... more...

DR. MONTESSORI’S OWN HANDBOOK Recent years have seen a remarkable improvement in the conditions of child life. In all civilized countries, but especially in England, statistics show a decrease in infant mortality. Related to this decrease in mortality a corresponding improvement is to be seen in the physical development of children; they are physically finer and more vigorous. It has been the diffusion, the popularization of science,... more...

THE POINT OF VIEW There is an endless, and perhaps worldwide, controversy as to what constitutes the "essentials" of education; and as to the steps to be taken in the teaching of these essentials. The safe plan for constructive workers appears to be to avoid personal educational philosophies and to read all the essentials of education within the needs and processes of the community itself. Since we are using this social point of view in making... more...