"It is believed further, that the school should provide an environment that will liberate and organize the pupils capacities for self-initiated, self directed, whole-hearted, purposeful activities activities that will have as their chief characteristics the reconstruction or the creative control of environment for ever richer living."
Madame Montessori is out of date; she knew nothing of expressionism and she had evidently not read the German philosopher. The new "experimental school" proposed in New York for children from four to six years of age surpasses her entirely.
The creative genius and the attitude of constructive living are being smothered in our present grammer schools because, we are told with splendid intuition, of logically arranged and logically presented content. What those phrases mean the adherents of them do not say it is enough that they have been given to the world. The storm-center of the educational havoc has been found.
One is tempted, of course, to remember Hawthorne's creative genius smothered in a custom house or of Burns ganging ale in Dumiries; but that would be a pitiful exhibition of mid-Victorianism. And just a pitiful would be the counter suggestion that the fault of the grammar schools lies in political school boards and underpaid teachers; or that a little logic and a little disagreeable work is very "good for the soul." No, small Cousin Biliee must henceforth be allowed to vent his creative impulse on the fly leaf of a first edition "Ulysses", and improve the hitherto uncolored wood-cuts in a calf-skin Hegarth. His ideas of constructive living will doubtless entail late hours and a participation in the family revels.
There is no doubt but that the "little red school-house" has been sadly over-rated, and that we have, as a nation, been taught facts rather than the more vital Life. Untold opportunities, have been thrown away in wasted logical energy although some few might be skeptical enough to assert that any sort of logic has long ceased to manifest itself in our schools. But skepticism will vanish before the alluring and signicant program laid out, and our children will grow to maturity with the blessing of knowing how to live life as it should be lived.
"The curriculum in a school of that kind...will be as varied, rich and fluid as life itself. The problem will be how to provide opportunities for ever-increasing richness of experience. The school will be a place where boys and girls will reconstruct their experience in a boys' and girls' world. In this way they will be able to experience the sheer joy of living."
Fortunate indeed are the children of four and six years of age who may, in this sordid world of realities; experience such joy.