Children should enjoy their education. The enjoyment ought to be of the type that derives from a sense of accomplishment – of having mastered a new mental or manual skill or acquired a new piece of knowledge that enhance their understanding of themselves or the world – not of the type that derives from being entertained or amused. A wholesome participation in competitive activities – from class spelling tests to sporting tournaments – gives a child a realistic sense of his or her talents and often acts as an incentive to develop them further. In this matter, we are happy to be guided by the spirit and balance of the Ratio Studiorum.
Class contests are to be highly valued and are to be held whenever time permits, so that honorable rivalry, which is a powerful incentive to studies, may be fostered. ….. besides the public prizes, other small tokens or symbols of victory are awarded by the instructors in their own classes to spur on their own pupils when they seem to merit distinction.
Very few adults and no children at all are capable of educating themselves. Allowing children to develop at their own pace is something that is always acknowledged as desirable but is often difficult in practice. We are firmly of the view that schools exist so that children can flourish and not vice versa. In practice this means not only providing support to children who find this or that topic or activity difficult but also the removal of restraints that inhibit the full development of a child’s talents in areas where he or she may have a particular aptitude.