Monday, December 29, 2014

covering the emptiness of our own minds

"As soon as we, young or old, have taken to the habit of asking the book for what it is in our power to learn from personal observation, we dismiss our organs of perception and comprehension from their righteous charge, and cover the emptiness of our own minds with the patchwork of others." Édouard Séguin.
Édouard Séguin was a French physician who worked with the mentally deficient in France and the US and was admired by Maria Montessori.What he describes has gotten worse. These days we check our iPhones to see if it's raining. Through television and the internet, we may know more about the Brazilian rainforest than we would know about our own back yards.

On the other hand, you can't make anything of lasting usefulness and beauty without using your senses. If our schools were to become laboratories for the making of useful beauty, the by-
product would be character and intellect. Children would also be happier to attend.
"Without an accurate acquaintance with the visible and tangible properties of things, our conceptions must be erroneous, our inferences fallacious, and our operations unsuccessful." - Herbert Spencer.
Frank Lloyd Wright did his early designs at a table like the one shown at left. I've decided to make a Froebel play board to go with his gifts, so I spent a fitful night in contemplation of it. The beginnings of it are shown below. I will add a border of maple.

For the child, the gridded table or play board presents an orderly universe, at which the child becomes master within its borders.

Make, fix and create...

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