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Cheryl Hoskinson

Foundations of Education
April 12, 2015

Pioneers of education
The three pioneers of which I have decided to discuss are the
following: Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Friedrich Froebel, and Maria
Montessori. Although they differed in the time that they were adding to the
wealth of the history of education, they all correlated in their approach to
First of all, Johann Pestalozzi was a Swiss educator. He was around in
the early part of the industrial revolution when factory-made products were
replacing home handicrafts. This early industrialization reshaped the family
life as people were lead to work outside the home. Pestalozzi concerned
about the impact that this economic change would have on the family
sought to focus education on the nurturing of the holistic child’s
development. Pestalozzi’s ideas about the relationship’s about school and
families are important in today’s ever changing global society. He also
believed that schools should not focus on dull routines of memorization and
recitation, but that educational reform could definitely improve society on
the whole. Pestalozzi believed that with the right organization that schools


could become centers of effective learning. He also pushed for group
In the schools which he taught at Burgdorf and Yverdon he developed
a preservice teacher-education program that emphasized the rights of
children to be taught by caring teachers in a safe environment.
Philosophically speaking Pestalozzi was a realist like Aristotle.
Pestalozzi organized his approach into two specific areas the “general
and “special” methods. The general method created a caring and
emotionally healthy homelike school environment. This required teacher
who, emotionally stable themselves could win students’ trust and affection,
and nurture their self-esteem.
When this was accomplished then Pestalozzi would implement his
special method which was geared toward sensory learning. He began
instruction with children’s direct experiences in their environment. Children
would study rocks, plants, animals, and man-made items they would
encounter during the day in their own social and natural environment. In
the object lessons children would learn to read, write and do math.
Pestalozzi incorporated the following strategies into his preservice
teacher-preparation program. Teachers should (1) begin with concrete
objects before moving on to the abstract concepts, (2) begin with the
learner’ immediate environment before moving onto what is remote and
distant, (3) begin with easy and simple exercises before moving on to more

complex ones, and (4) always proceed slowly, and cumulatively. These are
the steps that are in place in the United States today.
Many of Pestalozzi’s ideas are in used today. The main thing that he
emphasized is that emotional security is a necessary precondition for skill
and subject learning to occur the environment must be a safe and secure
place free from bullying and violence.
Secondly, Friedrich Froebel was a German educator. He was coined by
creating Kindergarten- a child’s garden. Philosophically Froebel was an
idealist like Plato he believed that at the center of each individual lies some
spirituality. A nationalist he believed that all individuals had a common folk
spirit which was manifested in the nation’s stories, songs, and fables.
Storytelling, games, gifts, occupations and singing were important in his
Frobel took some of Pestalozzi ideas, but then created some of his
own. He believed that children should be taught in safe environments.
Preservice experiences should help teachers become sensitive to children’s
needs and give them the knowledge and skills to create caring and
wholesome learning environments. Frobel’s main contribution to today’s
education is that of creating kindergarten, and preschools which were
designed to enhance early childhood experiences.
Finally, Maria Montessori an Italian educator. She devised an
internationally popular method of early childhood education. Similar to

Pestalozzi and Froebel she recognized that children’s early experiences
have an important formative and continuing influence on their later lives.
As a pioneer, herself, in women going on to higher education, she was
the first to receive a degree of doctor of medicine at the University of Rome.
In 1908. Maria Montessori designed a specifically prepared environment
that featured methods, materials, and activities that were based on her
observation of children. Children had the desired to work on things that
interest them without prodding from teachers and without external rewards
and punishments. In fact, in due time, children will learn to read and write
on their own.
Montessori’s curriculum consisted of three major types of activities,
and experiences: practical, sensory, and formal skills and studies. Children
learned basic skills such as setting the table, serving a meal, washing
dishes, and practicing basic manners and social etiquette. Montessori used
special exercises to develop sensory acuity and muscular and physical
Montessori designed preplanned teaching (didactic) devices and
materials to develop children’s practical, sensory, and formal skills.
Montessori educators are called “directresses’ rather than teachers.
Montessori’s contributions include (1) the concept of sensitive
periods, or phases of development when children are ready to work with
materials that are especially useful in sensory, motor and cognitive learning;

(2) belief that children are capable of sustained self-directed work in
learning a particular skill; and (3) emphasis on school as part of the
community, and parent involvement is crucial.
In summary, as I have not really worked in a school system. I have just
had experience in Sunday school I would say that John Dewey was correct
in his approach that children learn by doing or example. And like the three
pioneers that I discussed Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Montessori the best
environment for a child to learn in is one in which the child can feel safe
and secure. That education in early childhood affects what happens later in