from The Incarnating Child by Joan Salter

copyright © 1987 Joan Salter

Hawthorn Press, Hawthorn House, 1 Lansdown Lane, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BJ UK



This brings us to consider the immense importance of visual and auditory sense impressions. For eyes must be 'tuned' to present the world intensely in all its variety. As an adult the child will need eyes that truly see and ears that truly hear if he is to experience the world. It is obvious that perception of an object is a necessary pre-requisite to an experience of what it has to offer. Some people today hardly notice the world around them, whether it is a vase of flowers on a table, the wind in the trees or the night sky. They have eyes that don't truly see and ears that don't truly hear, and their inner life is correspondingly barren because of it.

         To help develop sensory capacities, which will enrich the child's immediate present and his adult life, means starting at birth with good quality sense impressions.

         [...] We have seen the importance of colour, and have noted the necessity for careful choice of pram lining and clothes, etc. As the child grows older, the gentle pinks, blues and creams of infancy can give way to clear reds, yellows and stronger blues - that is, the primary colours. [...]

         As a general guideline, it can be said that good-quality visual and auditory sense impressions are always harmonious and artistic. Nature, with her abundance of flowers, the rhythm of waves, the songs of birds, the majesty of the forst, mountain and waterfall, is the Archetypal Artist whose creations never cease to amaze us. For the young child to be exposed to such artistry and to take it deeply into himself has an up-building effect on his whole body. Parents can share his enthusiasm as he gazes in wonder at a beetle or looks at the stars or moon. While at the beach they can listen with him to the waves, rejoice with him in the finding of a shell. Even the simplest things, a worm in the garden soil, can be a source of fascination for a small child. Through his eyes and ears he will absorb these processes of nature, thus enlivening in a harmonious way his sensory organization.

         Good quality human sights and sounds also nourish the senses. There is Mother and Dad's smiling face and kindly encouraging word. We have mentioned lullabies and songs in relation to rhythm; and it has also been pointed out that a living voice or music is of much greater value than the most sublime music on radio or tape. The former carries a living nourishing human quality, while the latter is a mechanized version of what was once alive. It has lost its power of up-building forces.

         Indoors, an attractive picture on the wall, carefully chosen curtains and simple furnishings (that is, not a cluttered environment) all help the eyes to become sensitive to their surroundings.