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.
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’.
A child learns to adjust himself and make acquisitions in his sensitive periods. These are like a beam that lights interiorly or a battery that furnishes energy. It is this sensibility which enables a child to come into contact with the external world in a particularly intense manner. At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm. Every effort marks an increase in power. Only when the goal has been obtained does fatigue and the weight of indifference come on.
A child is an eager observer and is particularly attracted by the actions of the adults and wants to imitate them. In this regard an adult can have a kind of mission. He can be an inspiration for the child’s actions, a kind of open book wherein a child can learn how to direct his own movements. But an adult, if he is to afford proper guidance, must always be calm and act slowly so that the child who is watching him can clearly see his actions in all their particulars.
The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult.
They do not understand us, they cannot defend themselves from us, and they accept whatever we tell them. They not only accept abuse, but feel guilty whenever we blame them.
…a teacher should never forget that he is a teacher and that his mission is one of education.