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Schools And Education
Child Development
Child's Education
Education And Life
The Common School
Physical Education
Citizenship And Schools
Education In Democratic Society
Ethics In Schools
Efficiency Of Our Schools
Creative Education
Drama And Education

The Child's Education

( Originally Published 1913 )

No education would be worth a jot that resulted in a loss of manliness and lightness of heart. So long as there is joy in the child's face, ardor and enthusiasm in all his games, so long as happiness accompanies most of his impressions, there is nothing to fear. Short moments of self-subjugation quickly followed by new interests and new joys do not dishearten. To see peace and happiness resulting from habits of order and obedience is the true preparation for social life.

Be in no hurry. to get on, but make the first step sound before moving; in this way you will avoid confusion and waste.

Order, exactness, completion-alas, not thus was my character formed. And in the case of my own child in particular, I am in great danger of being blinded by his quickness and rapid progress, and, dazzled by the unusual extent of his knowledge, of forgetting how much ignorance lurks behind this apparent development, and how much has yet to be done before we can go farther. Completeness, orderliness, absence of confusion-what important points.

Lead your child out into nature, teach him on the hilltops and in the valleys. There he will listen better, and the sense of freedom will give him more strength to overcome dif ficulties. But in these hours of freedom, let him be taught by Nature rather than by you. Let him fully realize that she is the real teacher, and that you, with your art, do nothing more than walk quietly at her side. Should a bird sing or an insect hum on a leaf, at once stop your talk; bird and insect are teaching him; you may be silent.

I would say to the teacher, be thoroughly convinced of the immense value of liberty; do not let vanity make you anxious to see your efforts producing premature fruit; let your child be as free as possible, and seek diligently for every means of insuring his liberty, peace of mind and good humor. Teach him absolutely nothing by words that you can teach him by the things themselves; let him see for himself, hear, find out, fall, pick himself up, make mistakes; no word, in short, when action is possible. What he can do for himself, let him do it; let him always be occupied, always active; and let the time you leave him to himself represent by far the greatest part of his childhood. You will then see that nature teaches him better than men...

The path of nature, which develops the forces of humanity, must be easy and open to all; education, which brings true wisdom and peace of mind, must be simple and within everybody's reach...

Thou who wouldst be a father to thy child, do not expect too much of him till his mind has been strengthened by practice in the things he can understand; and beware of harshness and constraint...

When men are anxious to go too fast, and are not satisfied with nature's method of development, they imperil their inward strength, and destroy the peace and harmony of their souls...

The schools hastily substitute an artificial method of words for the truer method of nature, which knows no hurry, and is content to wait... -Pestalozzi

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