"Is childhood a necessary evil, or have the characteristics of the childish mentality a functional significance that defines a genuine activity? According to the reply given to this fundamental question, the relation between adult society and the child to be educated will be conceived of as either unilateral or reciprocal. In the first case the child is called upon to receive from outside the already perfected products of adult knowledge and morality; the educational relationship consists of pressure on the one side and receptiveness on the other. From such a point of view even the most individual kinds of task performed by the students (writing an essay, making a translation, solving a problem) partake less of the genuine activity of spontaneous and individual research than of the imposed exercise or the act of copying an external model; the student's inmost morality remains fundamentally directed toward obedience rather than autonomy. Whereas, on the other hand, to the degree in which childhood is thought of as endowed with its own genuine form of activity, and the development of mind as being included within that activity's dynamic, the relation between the subjects to be educated and society becomes reciprocal: the child no longer tends to approach the state of adulthood by receiving reason and the rules of right action ready-made, but by achieving them with his own effort and personal experience; in return, society expects more of its new generations than mere imitation: it expects enrichment."
"Let there be no misunderstanding, however. Modern educational science has not emerged from child psychology in the same way that advances in industrial technique have developed, step by step, from the discoveries of the exact sciences. It is rather the general spirit of psychological research, and often, too, the very methods of observation employed that have energized educational science in their passage from the field of pure science to that of scholastic experimentation."