FAIRY-TALES do not give a child his first idea of bogy. What fairy-tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogy. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy-tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy-tale does is this: it accustoms him by a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors have a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies, that these infinite enemies of man have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. When I was a child I have stared at the darkness until the whole black bulk of it turned into one negro giant taller than heaven. If there was one star in the sky it only made him a Cyclops. But fairy-tales restored my mental health. For next day I read an authentic account of how a negro giant with one eye, of quite equal dimensions, had been baffled by a little boy like myself (of similar inexperience and even lower social status) by means of a sword, some bad riddles, and a brave heart.
Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
So wise so young, they say, do never live long.
Shakespeare, King Richard III, Act III, Scene III
Children love to learn, but hate to be taught.
If the children are untaught, their ignorance and vices will in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences than it would have done in their correction by a good education.
The first idea that the child must acquire in order to be actively disciplined is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.
Suppose Bobby Jones or Mozart had not been allowed to begin his music or his golf until the other children did, or to practice or progress faster, or had only the instruction of a school class in music or physical education. Suppose they had been kept from playing with older children or adults in the fear that they might become socially maladjusted, kept from associating much with older musicians or golfers because that would be narrowing and undemocratic. Kept from public performance or tournaments because that would be exploiting the child! It surely may be questioned whether they would then have reached the prominence they did. Abuses in the afore-mentioned directions are, of course, possible. But, it is also an abuse to withhold opportunities from precocious youngsters who are eager to advance and excel.
Sidney L. Pressey, Scientific Monthly, September 1955
Primary education as we understand it today is neither a technical education nor an education in general culture. It teaches reading, writing, use of the mother tongue, and what is essential to know in order to be able to get along in life, whatever one's trade or station. But in the middle ages and at the beginning of modern times this elementary and empirical knowledge was not taught in school; it was acquired at home or in apprenticeship to a trade.
Phillippe Aries in Centuries of Childhood
It's not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.
Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
Francis Bacon, of Studies
I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.
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