A forerunner of women's gymnastics and school and scouting educational model: Georges Hébert and the virtues of the Natural Method of Physical and Moral Education

A supporter of women's emancipation, Georges Hébert founded in 1918 “La Palestra”, a gymnastics school for women and children, considered the flagship of what was called “Méthode naturelle d'éducation physique, virile et morale”, a method that combined training of physical abilities, courage and morality developed by Hébert between 1903 and 1904 at the battalion of marine fusiliers of Lorient. Other projects will arise following the success of this first experiment, to support Hébert's personal battle against the prejudices that in the first decades of the twentieth century prevented the complete emancipation of young French women. The Method, inspired by several previous proposals developed in France, contrasting with the methods for gymnastic training and physical education adopted at the time, became for Hébert an effective tool to promote active cultural change. Its strong holistic characterization means that the Method is adopted within the European and international youth scout educational movement. The technical-scientific component of the Method also leaves room for the appreciated moral component, effective in reconnecting man and the natural environment.