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MPPC 1333


Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Early years (17461765)
Pestalozzi was born on January 12, 1746, in Zurich, Switzerland. His father was
a surgeon and oculist who died at age 33 when Pestalozzi, the second of three children, was 6
years old. His mother, whose maiden name was Hotze, was a native of Wadenswil on the lake of
Zurich. The family also had a maid, Barbara Schmid, nicknamed Babeli. After the death of
Pestalozzi's father it was only through the help of Babeli that Pestalozzi's mother could
financially support the family.
In 1751, Pestalozzi attended the Gymnasium (Collegium Humanitatis) and received instruction
from educators Hohann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob Breitinger who taught history &
politics and Greek & Hebrew, respectively.
On holidays Pestalozzi would visit his maternal grandfather, a clergyman in Hongg. Together
they would travel to schools and the houses of parishioners. It was through these visits that
Pestalozzi learned the poverty of country peasants. He saw the consequences of putting children
to work in the factory at an early age and he saw how little the Catechism schools did for them.
Their ignorance, suffering and inability to help themselves left an impression on Pestalozzi, an
impression that would guide his future educational ideas.
Pestalozzi was educated to become a clergyman. As a clergyman, he expected to have ample
opportunity to carry out his educational ideas; however, the failure of his first sermon and
influence from philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau led him to pursue a career in law and political

"The ideal system of liberty, also, to which Rousseau imparted fresh animation, increased in me
the visionary desire for a more extended sphere of activity, in which I might promote the welfare
and happiness of the people. Juvenile ideas as to what it was necessary and possible to do in this
respect in my native town, induced me to abandon the clerical profession, to which I had
formerly learned, and for which I had been destined, and caused the thought to spring up within
me, that it might be possible, by the study of the law, to find a career that would be likely to
procure for me, sooner or later, the opportunity and means of exercising an active influence on
the civil condition of my native town, and even of my native land." Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Young adulthood Political aspirations 17651767









Rousseau's Emile and Social Contract, saying they were dangerous to the State and the Christian
religion. A prison sentence was issued upon Rousseau. Bodmer, Pestalozzi's former professor,
embraced the teachings of Rousseau and founded the Helvetic Society with about 20 other
philosophers in 1765. Their goal was the advancement of freedom. The 19-year-old Pestalozzi
was an active member, contributing many articles to the Society's newspaper, Der Erinnerer.
Pestalozzi brought to light several cases of official corruption and was believed to be an
accessory to the escape of a fellow newspaper contributor. Although he was later proven
innocent, he was under arrest for three days. These events caused Pestalozzi to have many
political enemies and destroyed any hope of a legal career.
Neuhof 17691779
After the failure of his political aspirations and at the suggestion of several friends, Pestalozzi
decided to become a farmer. During this time, Johann Rudolf Tschiffeli, who was also a member
of the Helvetic Society, attracted widespread attention regarding his successful business model.
He had converted a large plot of worthless land into several valuable farms. In 1767 Pestalozzi
visited Tschiffeli to learn about his method. After a year with Tschiffeli, Pestalozzi purchased 15
acres of waste land in the neighborhood of Zurich. He obtained financial support from a Zurich
banker, bought more land, and in 1769 married Anna Schulthess.
Pestalozzi began to build a house on the heavily mortgaged property, calling it "Neuhof". The
land he had bought, however, was unsuitable to farm. Unfavorable reports led the banker to
withdraw his support. Pestalozzi added a wool-spinning business to the farm, hoping to improve

his financial situation. The challenges increased as much as his debt. Three months after their
financial support was withdrawn, Schulthess gave birth to the couple's only son, Jean-Jacques
Pestalozzi. He was nicknamed Schaggeli and often had epileptic fits that led Pestalozzi and
Schulthess to constantly worry about his health.
Transition from farm to industrial school at Neuhof
After the failure of his farming venture, Pestalozzi wanted to help the poor. He had been poor
himself most of his life and he had observed orphans who gained apprenticeship as farmers only
to be overworked and underfed. He desired to teach them how to live self-respecting lives. This
led him to the conception of converting Neuhof into an industrial school. Against the wishes of
his wife's family, Pestalozzi gained the support of philosopher Isaak Iselin of Basel, who
published it in Die Ephemerides, a periodical devoted to social and economic questions. The
publication led to subscriptions and loans free of interest. The new foundation had a short period
of apparent prosperity, but after a year Pestalozzi's old faults again led the institution to near ruin.
An appeal for public support in 1777 brought much-needed help, and Pestalozzi contributed to
the periodical a series of letters on the education of the poor. The appeal, however, only
postponed the failure of the institution. In 1779, Pestalozzi had to close Neuhof. With help from
his friends, Pestalozzi was able to save the house at Neuhof for himself and his family to live in.
Despite the property being saved, they were in financial ruin and were reduced to poverty. His
family connections abandoned him, along with most people who had shown interest in his ideas.
Educational View
The following summary and comparative view of tis principles, is taken from an article by
William C. Woodbridge, in the American Annals of Education, for January, 1837. As the result of
his investigations, Pestalozzi assumed as a fundamental principle, that education, in order to fit
man for his destination, must proceed according to the laws of nature. To adopt the language of
his followers-that it must not act as an arbitrary mediator between the child and nature, between
man and God, pursuing its own artificial arrangements, instead of the indications of Providencethat it should assist the course of natural development, instead of doing it violence-that it should
watch, and follow its progress, instead of attempting to mark out a path agreeably to a
preconceived system.


In view of this principle, he did not choose, like Basedow, to cultivate the mind in a
material way, merely by inculcating and engrafting everything relating to external
objects, and giving mechanical skill. He sought, on the contrary, to develop, and
exercise, and strengthens the faculties of the child by a steady course of excitement to
self-activity, with a limited degree of assistance to his efforts.


In opposition to the haste, and blind groping of many teachers without system, he
endeavored to find the proper point for commencing, and to proceed in a slow and
gradual, but uninterrupted course, from one point to another always waiting until the first
should have a certain degree of distinctness in the mind of the child, before entering
upon the exhibition of the second. To pursue any other course would only give
superficial knowledge, which would neither afford pleasure to the child, nor promote its
real progress.


He opposed the undue cultivation of the memory and understanding, as hostile to true
education. He placed the essence of education in the harmonious and uniform
development of every faculty, so that the body should not be in advance of the mind, and
that in the development of the mind, neither the physical powers, nor the affections,
should be neglected; and that skill in action should be acquired at the same time with
knowledge. When this point is secured, we may know that education has really begun,
and that it is not merely superficial.


He required close attention and constant reference to the peculiarities of every child, and
of each sex, as well as to the characteristics of the people among whom he lived, in order
that he might acquire the development and qualifications necessary for the situation to
which the Creator destined him, when he gave him these active faculties, and be
prepared to labor successfully for those among whom he was placed by his birth.


While Basedow introduced a multitude of subjects of instruction into the schools,

without special regard to the development of the intellectual powers, Pestalozzi
considered this plan as superficial. He limited the elementary subjects of instruction to
Form, Number and Language, as the essential condition of definite and distinct

knowledge; and believed that these elements should be taught with the utmost possible
simplicity, comprehensiveness and mutual connection.

Pestalozzi, as well as Basedow, desired that instruction should commence with the
intuition or simple perception of external objects and their relations. He was not,
however, satisfied with this alone, but wished that the art of observing should also be
acquired. He thought the things perceived of less consequence than the cultivation of the
perceptive powers, which should enable the child to observe completely, to exhaust the
subjects which should be brought before his mind.


While the Philanthropinists attached great importance to special exercises of reflection,

Pestalozzi would not make this a subject of separate study. He maintained that every
subject of instruction should be properly treated, and thus become an exercise of
thought; and believed, that lessons on Number, and Proportion and Size, would give the
best occasion for it.


Pestalozzi, as well as Basedow, attached great importance to Arithmetic, particularly to

Mental Arithmetic. He valued it, however, not merely in the limited yiew of its practical
usefulness, but as an excellent means of strengthening the mind. He also introduced
Geometry into the elementary schools, and the art connected with it, of modeling and
drawing beautiful objects. He wished, in this way, to train the eye, the hand, and the
touch, for that more advanced species of drawing which had not been thought of before.
Proceeding from the simple and intuitive, to the more complicated and difficult forms, he
arranged a series of exercises so gradual and complete, that the method of teaching this
subject was soon brought to a good degree of perfection.


The Philanthropinists introduced the instruction of language into the common schools,
but limited it chiefly to the writing of letters and preparation of essays. But Pestalozzi
was not satisfied with a lifeless repetition of the rules of grammar, nor yet with mere
exercises for common life. He aimed at a development of the laws of language from
within-an introduction into its internal nature and construction and peculiar spirit-which
would not only cultivate the intellect, but also improve the affections. It is impossible to
do justice to his method of instruction on this subject, in a brief sketch like the presentbut

those who have witnessed its progress and results, are fully aware of its practical
character and value.

Like Basedow, Rochow and others, Pestalozzi introduced vocal music into the circle of
school studies, on account of its powerful influence on the heart. But he was not satisfied
that the children should learn to sing a few melodies by note or by ear. He wished them
to know the rules of melody and rhythm, and dynamics-to pursue a regular course of
instruction, descending to its very elements, and rendering the musical notes as familiar
as the sounds of the letters. The extensive work of Nageli and Pfeiffer has contributed
very much to' give this branch of instruction a better form.


He opposed the abuse which was made of the Socratic method in many of the
Philanthropinic and other schools, by attempting to draw something out of children
before they had received any knowledge. He recommends, on the contrary, in the early
periods of instruction, the established method of dictation by the teacher and repetition
by the scholar, with a proper regard to rhythm, and at a later period, especially in the
mathematical and other subjects which involve reasoning, the modern method, in which
the teacher merely gives out the problems in a proper order, and leaves them to be solhed
by the pupils, by the exertion of their own powers.


Pestalozzi opposes strenuously the opinion that religious instruction should be addressed
exclusively to the understanding; and shows that religion lies deep in the hearts of men,
and that it should not be enstamped from without, but developed from within; that the
basis of religious feeling is to be found in the childish disposition to love, to
thankfulness. to veneration, obedience and confidence toward its parents; that these
should be cultivated and strengthened and directed toward God; and that religion should
be formally treated of at a later period in connection with the feelings thus excited. As he
requires the mother to direct the first development of all the faculties of her child, he
assigns to her especially the task of first cultivating the religious feelings.


Pestalozzi agreed with Basedow, that mutual affection ought to reign between the
educator and the pupil, both in the house and in the school, in order to render education
effectual and useful. He was, therefore, as little disposed as Basedow, to sustain school

despotism; but he did not rely on artificial excitements, such as those addressed to
emulation. He preferred that the children should find their best reward in the
consciousness of increased intellectual vigor; and expected the teacher to render the
instruction so attractive, that the delightful feeling of progress should be the strongest
excitement to industry and to morality.

Pestalozzi attached as much importance to the cultivation of the bodily powers, and the
exercise of the senses, as the Philanthropinists, and in his publications, pointed out a
graduated course for this purpose. But as Gutsmuths, Vieth, Jahn, and Clias treated this
subject very fully, nothing further was written concerning it by his immediate followers.
Such are the great principles which entitle Pestalozzi to the high praise of having given a
more natural, a more comprehensive and deeper foundation for education and
instruction, and of having called into being a method which is far superior to any that
preceded it.

Contribution to Curriculum Theory

His theories laid the foundation of modern elementary education. He was director (from 1805) of
an experimental institute established at Yverdon on his principle that choice of pedagogical
method should be based on the individual's development and concrete experience. He opposed
memorization learning and strict discipline, and pioneered in the use of tactile objects in the
teaching of natural science. He also promoted broad liberal education followed by professional
training for teachers.
His theories laid the foundation of modern elementary education. He studied theology at the
Univ. of Zurich but was forced to abandon his career because of his political activity on behalf of
the Helvetic Society, a reformist Swiss political organization. From 1769 to 1798 he lived at his
farm, "Neuhof," near Zurich, where he conducted a school for poor children. He then directed a
school at Burgdorf (1799-1804), and from 1805 until his retirement (1825) to Neuhof he was
director of the experimental institute at Yverdon, which was established on Pestalozzian
Pestalozzi's theory of education is based on the importance of a pedagogical method that
corresponds to the natural order of individual development and of concrete experiences. To

Pestalozzi the individuality of each child is paramount; it is something that has to be cultivated
actively through education. He opposed the prevailing system of memorization learning and
strict discipline and sought to replace it with a system based on love and an understanding of the
child's world. His belief that education should be based on concrete experience led him to
pioneer in the use of tactile objects, such as plants and mineral specimens, in the teaching of
natural science to youngsters. Running through much of Pestalozzi's writing is the idea that
education should be moral as well as intellectual.
Never losing his commitment to social reform, Pestalozzi often reiterated the belief that society
could be changed by education. His theories also influenced the development of teacher-training
methods. Although he respected the individuality of the teacher, Pestalozzi nevertheless felt that
there was a unified science of education that could be learned and practiced. He belief that
teacher training should consist of a broad liberal education followed by a period of research and
professional training has been widely adopted throughout Europe and the United States.
Ideas and Books
Pestalozzi was a Romantic who felt that education must be broken down to its elements in order
to have a complete understanding of it. He emphasized that every aspect of the child's life
contributed to the formation of personality, character, and reason based on what he learned by
operating schools at Neuhof, Stans, Burgdorf and Yverdon. The success of the Yverdon school
attracted the interest of European and American educators. Pestalozzi's educational methods were
child-centered and based on individual differences, sense perception, and the student's selfactivity. Pestalozzi worked in Yverdon to 'elementarize' the teaching of ancient languages,
principally Latin, but also Hebrew and Greek. In 1819, Stephan Ludwig Roth came to study with
Pestalozzi, and his new humanism contributed to the development of the method of language
teaching, including considerations such as the function of the mother tongue in the teaching of
ancient languages. Pestalozzi and Niederer were important influences on the theory of physical
education; they developed a regimen of physical exercise and outdoor activity linked to general,
moral, and intellectual education that reflected Pestalozzi's ideal of harmony and human

Pestalozzi's philosophy of education was based on a four-sphere concept of life and the premise
that human nature was essentially good. The first three 'exterior' spheres home and family,
vocational and individual self-determination, and state and nation recognized the family, the
utility of individuality, and the applicability of the parent-child relationship to society as a whole
in the development of a child's character, attitude toward learning, and sense of duty. The last
'exterior' sphere inner sense posited that education, having provided a means of satisfying
one's basic needs, results in inner peace and a keen belief in God.
1. Leonard and Gertrude
2. How Gertrude teaches her children
3. To the innocence earnestness and nobility of my fatherland
4. My researches upon the course of nature in the development of the human race
5. On legislation and child-murder
6. On the idea of elementary education. An address delivered at Lenzburg, 1809
7. Pestalozzis letter to a friend upon his residence at Stanz
8. Views on industry, education, and politics
9. Address to my household, delivered Jan. 12, 1818
10. Figures to my A B C-Book
11. Views and experiences relative to the idea of elementary education
12. On the principle and plan of a periodical, announced in the year 1807
13. Report to parents and the public on the condition and organization of Pestalozzis
institution in the year 1807
14. A word on the condition of my pedagogical enterprises, and on the organization of my
institution during the year 1820
15. A few discourses in my house in the years 1808,1809,1810,1811 and 1812.
16. Christoph and Else
17. Swan-song
18. Theory of Number and Form
19. Theory of Form and Dimension
20. Address at Langenthal, Apr., 16,1826
21. Paternal Instruction

22. The evening hour of a hermit

The following paragraph will briefly describe the content of several publications of Pestalozzi.
Leonard and Gertrude is presented as a book which, more than other one work, was the
foundation of Pestalozzis frame and as in itself to the present generation a new and interesting
picture of life in German Swiss villages of the last half of the last century. It has also additional
value as containing many of the authors views on educational and social questions, although
diffused throughout the work.
A brief extract from Christopher and Alice is given, sufficient to exhibit the mode of
treatment of the subject. The work was comparatively a failure, and has moreover little interest to
readers in this country and this age, being closely and exclusively local in aim.
The Evening Hour of a Hermit is termed by karl von Raumer the key of Pestalozzis
educational views. And Pestalozzi himself observed, in his old age, that even at the early date of
its composition, he had already arrived at the fundamental principles which controlled the labors
and expositions of all hi subsequent life.
How Gertrude Teaches Her Children was intended by Pestalozzi to give a logical and
connected view of his methods of instruction, in some detail. The extracts presented embody the
most important portion of the work, and exhibit also some of his characteristic defects in
arrangement and exposition.
The extracts from the Paternal Instruction are valuable as a specimen of a mode of
combining instruction in language with sound lessons in moral; upon a principle which
Pestalozzi carried very far in theory, and to a great extent in practice; namely, that of teaching
through one and the same vehicle, if possible, in the department both of intellect and moral.

1. Pestalozzi and Pestalozzianism : life, educational principles, and methods, of John Henry Pestalozzi,
with biographical sketches of several of his assistants and disciples Barnard, Henry, 1811-1900.,
Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich, 1746-1827.
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Heinrich_Pestalozzi
3. http://infed.org/mobi/johann-heinrich-pestalozzi-pedagogy-education-and-social-justice/
4. http://faculty.knox.edu/jvanderg/202_K/Pestalozzi.htm