The characteristic of children under 6 years of age is that it is almost impossible to teach them; children of this age cannot take from a teacher. Therefore they are considered to be too young to go to school and therefore education does not begin until 6 years of age. Another characteristic of this age is that the children know and understand a great deal. They are full of knowledge. This would seem to be a contradiction, but the truth is that these children must take knowledge by themselves from the environment.
The concept of an education centered upon the care of the living being alters all previous ideas. Resting no longer on a curriculum, or a timetable, education must conform to the facts of human life.
The absorbent mind is indeed a marvelous gift to humanity! By merely ‘living’ and without and conscious effort the individual absorbs from the environment even a complex cultural achievement like language. If this essential mental form existed in the adult, how much easier would our studies be!
The average intelligence of normal children is low compared to that of normalized children. Because their energies have been misdirected, they are like children with broken bones who have need of special care if they are to become physically fit again. But instead of receiving the delicate treatment which they need for the correction of their psychic disorders and the furthering of their intellectual growth, children are frequently bullied about. A diverted mind cannot be forced and any attempt to correct it in this way will provoke a psychological reaction.
A fugue is a kind of flight, a taking refuge. A flight into play or into a world of fancy often conceals an energy that has been divided. It represents a subconscious defense of the ego which flees from suffering or danger and hides itself behind a mask.
I would not be able to cite a single example of a conversion taking place without an interesting task that concentrated the child’s activities. There are wide varieties of conversions that have occurred in this way. Children of a nervous temperament have become calm. The depressed have regained their spirits, and all have advanced together along the path of disciplined work, making progress through the outward manifestation of an inner energy which has found a means of expressions.
As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate.
An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child’s energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery.
What is to be particularly noted in these child conversions is a psychic cure, a return to what is normal. Actually, the normal child is one who is precociously intelligent, who has learned to overcome himself and to live in peace, and who prefers a disciplined task to futile idleness. When we see a child in this light, we would more properly call his ‘conversion’ a ‘normalization’.
Culture and education have no bounds or limits; now man is in a phase in which he must decide for himself how far he can proceed in the culture that belongs to the whole of humanity.