Our aim is not only to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core. The training of the teacher who is to help life is something far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training of character; it is a preparation of the spirit. It is my belief that the thing which we should cultivate in our teachers is more the spirit than the mechanical skill of the scientist; that is, the direction of the preparation should be toward the spirit rather than toward the mechanism. The teacher's task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child. The word education must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child. Education should no longer be mostly imparting of knowledge, but must take a new path, seeking the release of human potentialities. It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. She must first love and understand the universe. She must prepare herself, and truly work at it.
Whoever touches the life of the child touches the most sensitive point of a whole which has roots in the most distant past and climbs toward the infinite future. The teacher's task is no small or easy one! He has to prepare a huge amount of knowledge to satisfy the child's mental hunger, and he is not, like the ordinary teacher, limited by a syllabus.
The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop. It is necessary for the teacher to guide the child without letting him feel her presence too much, so that she may always be ready to supply the desired help, but may never be the obstacle between the child and his experience.
Written language can be acquired more easily by children of four years than by those of six....