The Secret of Childhood

The Secret of Childhood

The Secret of Childhood

The Secret of Childhood

Excerpt

The amazingly rapid progress in the care and education of children in recent years may be attributed partly to a generally higher standard of life, but still more to an awakening of conscience. Not only is there an increasing concern for child health--it began in the last decade of the XIXth century-- but also a new awareness of the personality of the child as something of the highest importance. Today it is impossible to go deeply into any branch of medicine or philosophy or sociology without taking account of the contribution brought by a knowledge of child life. A parallel, but on a lesser scale, is the light thrown by embryology on physiology in general and on evolution. But the study of the child, not in his physical but in his psychological aspect, may have an infinitely wider influence, extending to all human questions. In the mind of the child we may perhaps find the key to progress, and, who knows, the beginning of a new civilisation.

The Swedish poet and author Ellen Key prophesied that our century would be the century of the child. While anyone with patience to hunt through historical documents would find a recurrence of such ideas in the first King's Speech of King Victor Emmanuel III in Italy, when, in 1900, at the turn of the century, he succeeded to the throne after the assassination of his predecessor. He spoke of the new era beginning with the new century, and he too spoke of it as the Century of the Child . . .

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