Pestalozzi wrote a lot. He didn’t write in ‘works’ or ‘themes’ he just wrote his thoughts really as they came to him, but in his collection of writings he made some brilliant observations on life which are now quotes for us to ponder.
Here too, is a short story about the great man himself…
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi did not have a successful career.
His first sermon as a clergyman went so badly he was advised to become a lawyer instead! That too did not go so well for him, as he had made too many enemies fighting for justice and exposing corruption, to be able to sustain such a career.
Pestalozzi’s list of career failures goes on, but Pestalozzi was a kind man with a great heart and his life was to be concerned for others, particularly the wellbeing of children. He was deeply tormented by the sufferings he saw children living under, from their poverty to the failings of their school educations.
(Legend has it that he would give money to every beggar he walked past, to the point that when he himself became so poor that he had no money left, he gave his silver shoe buckles instead!)
Pestalozzi knew that children would learn best and thrive in whatever circumstances they found themselves in if their learning encompassed more than academia and included the love and motivation to help others and practical skills, so engaging the Head (mind), Heart (care for others) and Hands (the body).
And he was right.
He proved his methods could work – he began educating six year olds and in eight months he had not only taught the children to read perfectly, but also to write, draw and understand arithmetic. He applied this same principle to older students of all ages, and the outcome was the same.
Educationalists at the time were astounded by his achievements. From then on, Pestalozzi transformed how children were educated, and it came from the heart.
Pestalozzi’s success was great, although not in his lifetime. He became known as the ‘Father of Modern Education’ and many famous educators, such as Maria Montessori, show his influence and his principles are still successfully used to this day.