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friend. But it seems to us that this extraordinary progress depends not so much upon the teachers as upon the method of teaching
" And what is this method ? It is a method which simply follows the path of Nature, or, in other words, which leads the child slowly, and by his own efforts, from senseimpressions to abstract ideas. Another advantage of this method is that it does not unduly exalt the master, inasmuch as he never appears as a superior being, but, like kindly Nature, lives and works with the children, his equals, seeming rather to learn with them than to teach them with authority.
“Who does not know how ready the youngest children are to give everything a name, to put things together, and then take them to pieces again for the sake of new combinations? Who does not remember that he liked drawing better than writing? Who does not know that the most unlearned men are often the quickest at mental calculations ? Who is ignorant that children, boys and girls, almost as soon as they can walk, delight in playing at soldiers, and in other forms of exercise ?
" It is on these simple and well-known facts that Pestalozzi bases his method of instruction. Were it not for the fact that other men are daily making the same mistakes as teachers, we should be inclined to ask how it is that this idea never occurred to anybody before.”'
The report then goes on to speak of the use of movable letters for spelling and reading, slates for writing, and visible objects for teaching the children to count, and mentions that singing and walking often take the place of the regular lessons. It concludes as follows:
“ So far as we have been able to judge, it is impossible to grasp the general idea of the method without having followed the exercises from the very beginning. It results from what we have said that Pestalozzi's system ought to be introduced into the whole of Switzerland; the advantages of such a step would be incalculable. Pestalozzi's earnest desire is that he may be able, with the help of his worthy collaborators, to make his method generally known, and instruct all schoolmasters in its use. The Commission cannot but join heartily in this desire, and would urge the Society to use all its influence towards enabling Pestalozzi to found in Burgdorf a normal school for primary teachers, to which, for the practical preparation of the pupils, a model school would be attached.”
In consequence of this report, and the request of the Society of the Friends of Education, the Executive Council granted to Pestalozzi the sum of twenty pounds for the winter session which was about to commence.
At the same time, Schnell, the prefect of Burgdorf, published a pamphlet, in which he gave a more complete and appreciative exposition of Pestalozzi's views than had been contained in the report of the Commission.
It was on the 24th of October, 1800, that Pestalozzi announced the opening of his educational institution in the castle of Burgdorf, with a normal school for training teachers attached. Children of the middle class, living in the institution, would pay from sixteen to twenty pounds, according to the position of their parents.
The Society of the Friends of Education, seeing that the help furnished by the State would be far from sufficient for the needs of the new institution, had appointed a Commission to make a public appeal for subscriptions throughout Switzerland, emphasizing Pestalozzi's exceptional merits, and calling attention to the great advantages which would result to the country if his undertaking were properly supported.
This appeal appeared on the 20th of November. It states that Pestalozzi's desire is to found a poor-school in connection with the institution for middle-class children; it promises that there shall be religious observances for Catholics as well as Protestants, and entire liberty of conscience both for the children and teacher-students; it gives finally the names of certain people in each canton authorized to receive subscriptions. It is signed by the minister Rengger, and by Luthi, Usteri, and Fussli, members of the Legislative Council.
The Swiss newspapers which spoke of the enterprise approved or condemned it according to their political opinions. The
very advanced ideas of Pestalozzi's youth were not yet forgotten, and he was generally looked on rather as an
ardent friend of the revolution than as a man of genius and a devoted philanthropist.
In the critical condition of the country, the public subscription produced but very poor results. But Pestalozzi would not be beaten; and in spite of his poverty, he at once received the poor refugee children free of charge. Children who were able to pay had to wait till the place was ready for them.
The Burgdorf institute opened early in January, 1801. Pestalozzi himself had been obliged to help pay for the necessary repairs and furnishing, and now had to practise the strictest economy. Of all the establishments he founded, however, this is the one which most fully realized his views, and bore the most unmistakable stamp of his original genius, and it is this one that we must study if we wish to see the master's doctrine carried out in all its purity. We shall begin with the internal history of this institution, which only lasted three years and a half, but which carried afar the pedagogical reputation of its head. In another chapter we shall examine the educational principles on which it was founded, and the new works by which Pestalozzi sought to make them better known.
Ramsauer's memoirs, from which we have already quoted, contain certain graphic details about this period of Pestalozzi's life which are not to be found elsewhere, and which we therefore give in full:
“Of all Pestalozzi's pupils I was the first to be received into the establishment, and lodged in the castle; the second was my friend Egger, a refugee like myself, who was also received gratuitously. Once more this noblehearted man thought more of others than of himself. For us, indeed, he was always loving and true as a father. My position being rather different from the rest, I was brought into special relations with him. As a pupil I had to be trained and educated, but as a child of the house I had to perform certain services for him. Under the name of “tableboy” I was entrusted with the various small domestic duties of which a child is capable, some of which, however, were by no means light, and some even scarcely suitable.
“ Amongst the first was the duty of drawing water for use in the castle. The well was three hundred and eighty feet
deep, and the water was drawn by walking in a hollow wheel of some twenty-four feet in diameter. This had to be done in all weathers, and was by no means a light task, especially in winter, when a bitter wind was blowing through the wheel.
“Whenever I think of that period of my life, I cannot help thanking God for His goodness in preserving us from evil amidst the conversation that the men and maidservants used to indulge in when we children were helping them, which we often did till midnight. Their unseemly behaviour might have done us all the more harm from the fact that in spite of our extreme youth we were left almost entirely to ourselves, and, after finishing our domestic duties, might, had we felt so inclined, have remained idle. But two of the other table-boys and myself (there were often six or eight of us) were happily so eager to learn that a spare quarter of an hour was always well employed. We looked on study indeed as our chief work, though at least half our day was always taken up with manual labour.
“But when on summer days we saw the troop of masters and children going down the castle hill, either to bathe in the limpid river below, or to climb the rocks on its banks, whilst we table-boys had to stay behind to work in the kitchen or cellar, or elsewhere, then often I could not keep back my tears. But now for many years I have thanked God that I so soon learned to obey, to do useful work, and to overcome my desires. Besides, I was all the happier when I did take part in these pleasures.
“ And yet my occasional discouragement might perhaps have become intolerable, and prompted me to run away, if I had not had, besides Pestalozzi, another good genius to hold me fast, and make me forget my troubles. This was the widow of Pestalozzi's only son, Jacobli, an excellent woman, whose own sufferings had strengthened her, and filled her with compassion for the sufferings of others.
“For everybody in the institute she was a friend and protector, but for us table-boys she was a guardian angel. Afterwards, even when she had become the wife of kind Mr. Kuster, she continued for many years to share the household cares and labours of Pestalozzi's establishment, and was besides an invaluable friend to the girls' institute."
Ramsauer goes on to relate how his education progressed in spite of the small number and irregularity of the lessons in which he took part, how his eagerness to learn and Pestalozzi's kind attention made up for everything, and how at twelve years
he himself was set to teach in certain small elementary classes. He then continues :
“During my stay at Burgdorf, I paid a visit every summer to my kind benefactress at Schleumen, who each time presented me with new clothes. These were all the more acceptable, from the fact that Pestalozzi was obliged to use what money he had to keep his institute going and could not possibly have afforded to give me any.
“I have said above how much progress I had made in drawing, arithmetic, and what was called the A B C of sense-impression. Nor must I forget to mention singing. Although I was never called on to teach it, either from want of talent or want of time, it was one of the lessons which had the greatest charm for me, especially as it was taught in the early days of the institute.
“The thirty or forty children of both sexes of Pestalozzi's old school came from the town to the castle to take part in the singing lessons. Buss made his pupils sing as they walked up and down the big corridors of the castle, two and two, and holding each other's hands. That was our greatest pleasure ; but our joy reached its height when our gymnastic master Naef, who was a most original man, joined
He was an old soldier, who had seen service in nearly every part of the world. He looked a rough, bearded, surly giant enough, but as a matter of fact he was kindness' itself. When he marched with a military air at the head of some sixty or eighty children, loudly singing a Swiss song as he went, nobody could help following him.
“ Indeed, singing was one of our chief sources of pleasure in the institute. We sang everywhere-out of doors, on our walks, and, in the evening, in the court of the castle; and this singing together contributed in no small measure to the harmony and good feeling which prevailed amongst us. I must add that in spite of his rough exterior, Naef
1 Exercises in which the children made their own remarks on the objects placed before them.