Billeder på siden

began with twelve poor children, of both sexes, most of them orphans, or forsaken by their parents. In spite of his seventy-two years, the old man devoted himself to them with the same activity, the same zeal, the same love as in his youth, and, what seems hardly credible, with the same wonderful success as had crowned his first efforts at Neuhof, Stanz, and Burgdorf. Such is the power that an education which conforms to the laws of human nature has over the heart, that this man, absent-minded, awkward and incapable in practical life, and entirely without external advantages, was able, as though by enchantment, not only to gain the attention and affection of the children by whom he was surrounded, but to make them eager to learn.

In a few months the number of the children at Clendy had risen to thirty, and marvellous progress had been made. To give some idea of the school, we will translate the account given by Professor Heussler, one of Pestalozzi's best biographers:

"Children of five and six years old joyfully spent hours together at exercises in number and form, and even still younger children learned something from merely being present at the lessons. Some were so zealous that they needed restraining rather than encouraging. The best scholars were soon set to teach others, which they did well and gladly. Winter and summer, day and night, they would run off to Grandson, a village in the neighbourhood of Yverdun, to give lessons to people older than themselves, often sitting up a part of the night. At Yverdun their teaching was preferred to that of some of the masters. "They know, it was said, 'how to give instruction to the children without letting them feel that they are expected to learn anything, and often they seem to be drawing the knowledge from the very children they are teaching.””

This fresh success excited fresh admiration, and people came from all sides to see the new school at Clendy. The English were especially enthusiastic, as the Germans and French had been previously. They even encouraged the old man to think that England might be won over to his system of education, and asked him to receive at Clendy a certain number of rich children, who would pay for their instruction,

and afterwards carry his method across the Channel. Pestalozzi was weak enough to consent, and the character of his institution soon changed. The teaching became less elementary and more scientific, English was studied, and at the same time the internal arrangements lost something of their original simplicity.

It was then that Schmidt, who had only reluctantly consented to the foundation of a poor-school, cleverly took advantage of this change in its character to prevent its continuation. In view of the success that the scholars had obtained in teaching, he advised Pestalozzi to turn it into a training school, and transfer it to the Castle, where all the necessary means of instruction were ready to hand. In a pamphlet published in 1820, entitled, A Word on the State of my Pedagogical Labours and the Organization of my Institute, Pestalozzi himself admits that this advice was given him by Schmidt.

But the idea of uniting the two establishments in the Castle already existed in the spring of 1819, as is clear from a printed leaflet, which was freely circulated in Yverdun and the neighbourhood. This leaflet was written in French, signed by Pestalozzi, and dated the 26th of May, 1819; it ran as follows:

"For the fifteen years that I have been settled in this town, my educational establishment has been freely open to everybody from morning till night, not indeed without certain inconvenient results, which were, however, not entirely insupportable, and to which I have submitted in consideration of the circumstances. But these circumstances having now in part changed, this easy access can no longer continue, at any rate to the same extent. And so, although it is part of my plan to act openly, and although I desire nothing better than to make my efforts and experiments known to all who are interested in education, I cannot help begging those who may wish to see my institute at Clendy, to leave word first at the office of the Castle, so that a convenient hour may be fixed for their visit.

"As the children of the new establishment form rather a family than a school, and take part in the domestic work of the house, they are no more prepared to receive visits from strangers at any moment than any other family. As,

too, it is my duty to fit these children for their ultimate duties as quickly as possible, I am obliged to observe the strictest economy in the employment of their time. The results of their education will, please God, soon be visible in the institute of the Castle, and I shall be in a position, not only to carry out on a much larger scale what is being done at Clendy by the children themselves, but also to open a course of lessons in those parts of the method already perfected, for persons not attached to the institute of the Castle, lessons to which the most advanced children of the institute of Clendy will be admitted, and in some of which they will be employed. There will shortly be lessons in the English language, for instance, given at the Castle by Englishmen, and not only to men, but to women, if there are any who desire it. Some Englishmen are coming next summer to study certain branches of the method, and I will willingly grant permission to other persons to attend the lessons they will give. The public may rest satisfied that I shall in no wise slacken in my efforts for the improvement of education; but though I am perfectly ready to put myself at the service of all who take a real interest in my work, nobody can be offended if I ask that my two institutes may be spared such visits as have no other motive but curiosity, and only uselessly waste my time and that of the children entrusted to my care."

It is a very great pity that Pestalozzi should have put his name to this document, which aimed, it is true, at doing what was really necessary and ought to have been done long before, but which at the same time degenerates into a sort of advertisement in which we no longer recognize the noblehearted educational reformer.

In July of that same year, the institute of Clendy was united with that of Yverdun in the Castle, the young girls being installed in the second storey of the north wing, in the rooms formerly occupied by Pestalozzi and his wife. At the same time various repairs were carried out in the Castle, several new rooms being built in the towers, and fire-places supplied to those rooms that were without them.

On the 23rd of July, 1819, the Yverdun municipality, having to communicate with Pestalozzi concerning the repairs, took advantage of the occasion to let him know

that they regretted this fusion of the two schools, and that public opinion did not at all approve of young people of different sexes being brought together in the same building.

The Clendy poor-school had only lasted a year, but it had brought the old man one more taste of joy. In these last days, days embittered by disappointment and failure, it had shone for a moment brightly and serenely, as though in answer to the desire he had expressed at Bullet for a rainbow to shine upon his tomb.

This last success, short-lived as it was, was not without important results for humanity. The little children, who were assembled at Clendy, amused, occupied and instructed by the rational, gentle and paternal discipline of Pestalozzi, furnished the model of one of the most valuable educational institutions of our century. Speaking of this in his Reminiscences, Professor Vulliemin says:

"The effect of Pestalozzi's action has already lasted longer than his institute, and longer than he himself, nor will it cease for a long time to come; for though the flower and fruit have disappeared, the seed has been scattered over the globe. There is no new book on education in which Pestalozzi's name does not occupy a place of honour. Think, too, of the mothers taught by him to give increased care and attention to their children's early years, and of the schools that are the better for his influence. As for the infant schools, which nowadays exist everywhere, it was he who originated them, in a manner which I myself saw, and will now describe.

"The Yverdun institute was drawing near its end, when Pestalozzi, at the age of seventy-two, conceived the idea of returning to his earliest interests, and founding outside the institute a school for poor children. You know the hamlet of Clendy, on the shore of the lake to the east of Yverdun. It was there that I saw him resume his first efforts, with the same devotion, the same youthful enthusiasm, and with even a purer faith; there that I saw him obtain the same successes, and split on the same rocks. Clendy fell, as, before very long, the great institute itself was to fall. But there was a man there who had taken part in the short-lived enterprise, a man of Christian spirit and enlightened understanding. This man, who was an Englishman, by name Greaves, carried the ideas he had gathered at Clendy back

to England, where they took root, and became the origin of infant schools. From England these schools returned to us, first to Geneva, then to Nyon, then everywhere. We had not understood Pestalozzi; but when his methods came back from England, though they had lost something of their original spirit, their meaning and application were clear."

The year 1820 was another time of illusions and dreams for Pestalozzi. He had brought together in the Castle rich and poor, boys and girls, an elementary class for little children, a school and a training college. The poorer children, who were admitted out of charity and paid little or nothing, lived more simply than the rich, and during the hours of recreation, when the others were enjoying themselves, took part in the domestic work. As a general rule, it was out of these poorer children that the future schoolmasters and schoolmistresses were to be made.

Schmidt had probably only consented to this amalgamation from motives of economy, but to Pestalozzi it meant a new and important condition of success for his work. In order to get others to share his opinion in this matter, he published the pamphlet already referred to, entitled, A Word on the State of my Pedagogical Labours, etc., which begins thus:

"In acquainting the public to-day with the new organization of my establishment, I find myself compelled, on the one hand, to say a few words as to my previous efforts in the cause of education, and on the other, to give a few general explanations as to what I feel able and bound to do for the purpose of consolidating my work, and assuring its continuation after my death."

After reminding his readers that the aim of his earlier labours was to comfort and raise the people by education, and after admitting that he lacked the necessary strength and capacity when he founded his institute of Burgdorf, he speaks of the dissension with which his own weakness has surrounded him as being the chief cause of the defects which have ruined his work. But to-day these troubles have disappeared, and all his collaborators are harmoniously walking in the path that leads straight to his end. Nor is the progress of the institute any longer hampered by the

« ForrigeFortsæt »