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The basis upon which this great work must be founded, and upon which the final success of all instruction necessarily depends, is, according to Pestalozzi, Faith and Love.
True and sublime as this idea is, education, so far from having been hitherto founded on this principle, has been conducted in a spirit directly opposed to it; consequently it has proved neither rational nor beneficial.
Pestalozzi in his writings, and in his conversation, strongly condemns the neglect, the carelessness with which children are treated in the infant state. He says, that from the earliest age, children must no longer be considered as a burden, no longer be disregarded; but that they must be considered as beings holding a high rank in the creation, beings endowed with the heavenly spark of reason, which must be watched, fostered and nourished, till it becomes a bright and cheerful flame, diffusing light and warmth on all around.
This salutary effect can only be produced by bestowing on the Infant the assiduous care, the unremitting attention, the tender, enlightened love, to which he is by birth entitled. The foundation, the ground-work of rational Education must be laid in the fire-side, or domestic circle, under the sweet and beneficial influence of Faith and Love.
Hebe true development must begin; here the child is to be made susceptible of all further progress; here he is to be prepared for the future power of acquiring knowledge, in all its varied branches. But this preparation requires a peculiar treatment, and, above all, the watchful, unwearied, and tender care of the Mother.
Pestalozzi particularly insists upon and attaches the highest importance to that sort of rational cultivation, which every well-regulated domestic circle is capable of producing. He says: "After a life spent in the most minute researches, and in the most careful examination of elementary principles, I am convinced, that the system of Faith and Love will nowhere so perfectly succeed, or be so well executed, as among the members of a private family; the domestic circle containing elements essentially and admirably calculated to produce the necessary development of the innate faculties.
"The mutual dependence, the wants, the sympathies, the relations of the domestic union, are the sacred elements of all the moral, intellectual, and physical activity of man; and thus become the basis of all that he ought to learn, to understand, and to execute.
"The reciprocal Love, Faith, and ConfiDence, which unite the members of the family, Father, Mother, and Children, are the divine means by which the development of the faculties are made to advance in the harmony and equilibrium which are necessary to give children those religious and moral feelings, which can alone ensure to them the true and durable blessings of intellectual enjoyment.
** According to these views, I feel convinced, that the whole success of education depends on the good state of the family circle. I am, at the same time, aware that the spirit and manners of the age have so perverted the condition of private society, that the generality of Parents and other members of the family are nearly destitute of those moral qualities and mental acquirements, of that manual dexterity, of that knowledge and that aptitude to apply their knowledge, which is indispensably requisite, to enable them to profit by the advantages which the domestic circle presents, for the cultivation and instruction of their children.
"I therefore consider it of the utmost consequence, that we search attentively, investigate profoundly, and bring into active operation, every means likely to inspire Parents with a sense of their duty, aud of its importance to the whole human race; and that we endeavour to excite in them the wish, and bestow upon them the ability, to take advantage of the well-adapted, powerful, and precious aid which their united circle offers, for the development of the powers of their children; and by these means render themselves capable of exercising over them that enlightened, solid, and permanent influence, so indispensable to their cultivation.
"It therefore becomes essential to render all elementary means of spiritual, intellectual, and mechanical cultivation, in their whole extent, and in all their branches, so simple and easy, as to make them applicable even in the domestic circle of the poorest classes; and to introduce them into the sanctuary of Faith and Love; which in the narrow circle of Father, Mother, and Children, has been assigned and secured to all mankind, from the beginning, by God himself.
"I perceive that it is impossible to attain this end, without founding the means of popular culture and instruction, upon a basis which cannot be laid otherwise than in a profound examination of man. Without such an investigation, and such a basis, all is darkness.
"I am convinced that it is only by such study that we can hope to succeed in arriving at the true means of instruction; it is the only way by which we shall discover how to conduct a child to such a point of interior, moral and intellectual perfection, that he shall become not only capable of teaching his brothers, sisters, and companions, but also of communicating to them his knowledge in the same degree of perfection in which he acquired it. This is the true and only method of arriving at complete development; the only means calculated to afford hopes of directing the powers bestowed upon man to their true end; it is the only possible means of rendering knowledge UniVersal, of making man acquainted with HimSelf, and of placing him in permanent peace, happiness, and prosperity."
If the mode of instruction be not such as to combine the powers of Hand, Head, and Heart; if one be exercised and strengthened, while the others are suffered to lie dormant, to remain neglected, instruction can