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The child feels the warmth of the mother's breast and the breath of her loving lips ; it smiles (the first appearance of the soul, the first sign of the soul's existence).
The child perceives the mother; it feels her nearness, her distance, etc.; the child louks (the first appearance of mind—the first sign of its existence).
At the moment of the beginning of this separation of the senses, the true mother works upon the unfolding and development of the child according to its various capacities; the love of the mother makes the child feel, see, hear.
Thus are developed, without giving any account of themselves, yielding only to holy feeling, to the demands of their nature—the senses of the child, which are the paths to its mind and soul.
Here is the third point, where Pestalozzi takes into account the parents--where he appeals to them with the view of exalting the being of their love to the higher life, to conscious independence-where he gives them means and guidance to develop and cultivate the capacities of their child.
What Pestalozzi wishes as means of development he had pointed out in his Book for Mothers, which many have misunderstood and which is yet the highest which can be given to man, the most loving feeling could create, the highest and best gift which he could bestow in the present circumstances upon his brethren and sisters.
What Pestalozzi expresses in that book are only suggestions of what lies in his soul, as a great, glorious, living and unspeakable whole.
His soul felt the joys of heaven in his intuition of the perception of the father and mother following the call of nature by the education of their children. Overpowered by this heavenly joy, he sat down and wrote, not for word-catchers and quibblers—no! he wrote for parents, for fathers, for mothers, who he thought would conceive and feel as he did, to whom he only needed to point out what they should do, what they could do, and how they could do it.
The highest object of recognition, of the intuition of mind and soul to man, is humanity.
Pestalozzi took pleasure, in his Book for Mothers, in pointing out to man what he wished; and, in order to point out all that he wished, could he choose anything higher and more perfect than man, whose body is destined for the earth and whose being is destined for heaven ? That he chose the highest, the most perfect thing, is now made a reproach to him!
But is there a more glorious, more exalted, more beautiful, more worthy object of observation and recognition than man ?-and is not the body the house of our spirit, which is destined for eternity and for communion with God? Can it, as he himself says, be contrary to nature to learn to know it early, to respect it early, to rejoice in it early, that it may be made holy for us? Can it, as they charge Pestalozzi, be contrary to nature to orient one's self early in the house where one dwells ?
As I stand before you, it cannot be my aim to contradict the objections of Pestalozzi's opposers, who for the most part misunderstand him, since I am merely striving to represent literally the essence of Pestalozzi's fundamental efforts according to his own representation ; I merely say that a great part of the objections made to these efforts consists in this; that Pestalozzi, for various reasons, errs very much when he enlists the child himself in the first cognition and development of himself and the man, and even starts from the body of the child.
But how can it be a crime; how can it be against nature to respect the body early, to learn early to know the body and its use, the use to which we all owe everything, by which alone we learn to know the world without, which helps us to sustain and battle for our life, as it helps us to recognize God, to do good, and to rescue our brothers and sisters with strong arms from the brink of perdition ?
Truly, whoever wishes to teach the child to respect his body must respect himself; if he wishes to learn to know it, he must know himself; whoever wishes to instruct in the use of it, must know it himself, all this must come to his consciousness; whoever works to make the child feel the sacredness of his body, to himself it must be sacred !
Indeed, no man could understand Pestalozzi who had not in his soul, when this elementary book first fell into his hands, that which Pestalozzi felt to be exalted in humanity ; to him those principles were dead forms without sense or significance, and afterwards one person, perhaps without examination, repeated the judgment of another who seemed to him well-informed.
But were all these men parents to whom Pestalozzi spoke? Noble Princess, if I were not afraid of wearying you, I could say much upon the excellence and the principles of Pestalozzi, of the man himself; I only permit myself to express one thing of which I am deeply persuaded in my own mind.
Many a young man and boy, powerful by the nature of their collective capacities, would not have lost his powers in the bloom of his youth, if his parents or teachers had followed in his education the principles laid down by Pestalozzi in his Book for Mothers.
Many a young man would have known how to be a useful and estimable subject, in the years of his ripeness and understanding, if his body could have fulfilled the requisitions of his mind and heart.
Pestalozzi's Book for Mothers is only a suggestion of what he wishes to do; he wrote significantly ; " or a guide for mothers in the observation of their children, and to teach them to speak.”
But man is not the only thing upon earth ; the whole outward world is the object of his recognition, and the means for his development and culture.
Pestalozzi said, therefore, and still says: “As I have shown you that you can bring man by degrees through gradual development of the child to the conscious inspection and recognition of the world without, so bring every other object of the world without to his inspection and recognition, every object which approaches the child, which lies in his circle, in his world, as he himself lies in this world !”
Scarcely does it seem possible that herein can lie anything contrary to nature, difficult to be recognized, or difficult to be carried out, and yet the opponents of Pestalozzi find more than all this in it. Pestalozzi's opponents reproach him strongly that he merely speaks of this observation and recognition.
But we observe with all our senses, and how could Pestalozzi believe that any one would accuse him, when he used the word observation, of meaning simple observation with the eyes ?
The Book for Mothers is to teach the mother, in the first place, to develop and to cultivate the senses of the child both singly and in their harmonious united working. In the second place, it is to show how and in what natural series of steps, one may bring the objects of the world in which he lives to the observation and recognition of the child. In the third place, it is to put the mothers and the teachers in a condition to teach the child the use and destination of his powers and capacities, as well as the use and design of the objects of the world without; and to bring them to his consciousness.
And in all this they accuse Pestalozzi of expressing one-sided principles and methods of instruction, although it is surely impossible to fulfill the conditions he requires without developing and cultivating man in all the directions of his great powers.
Others came forward and said, Pestalozzi would have dead words and repetitions; what he gives is dead and therefore killing. Still others came forward and said what Pestalozzi wishes the child to know should be taught him earlier and better; they point to the number of children's books that have appeared for every age, and for children of all conditions; to the books that have been written on natural history, on excursions, journeys, stories and picture books of all kinds, etc.
By all these means that has not been done which Pestalozzi wishes to have done. Everything is given to the child prepared and related, so that his understanding has no work to do.
The powers of the child's mind are not rendered active and selfworking. The understanding of the adult has already prepared everything so that the activity of the child's understanding and recognition are left without employment. The consequence of this is weakness of mind and especially of the self-acting judgment of the child, and his egress out of his own inner world instead of making him at home in it and acquainted with it.
They have also reproached Pestalozzi for the form of his Book for Mothers. But when he wrote, it was not his opinion that the father, mother, teacher, whose hand-book he designed it to be, would necessarily confine himself strictly and anxiously to his representations. He strove only to represent what was essential in general, so far as this was possible for him to do so, and to touch upon all parts of the whole.
Some complained in regard to the book that the sequence was not logical enough; but Pestalozzi wished neither to establish a strong logical sequence, nor, still less, to confine the use and application of it.
What Pestalozzi had really contemplated was in the opinion of others too precise and stiff.
Although it was hardly possible that Pestalozzi should not begin his list of the parts of the human body with the head, he did not say that if other parts, the hand for example, should attract the attention of the child, it should be withdrawn from that and directed to the head because that happened to stand first in the book. Pestalozzi says expressly, the peculiar Book for Mothers is the nature of the child in its manifestations.
I know a mother who has treated her child now two and a quarter years old in the spirit of Pestalozzi, and according to his meaning. It is delightful and exalting to the heart to see that mother and child.
And surely the object of that mother's activity, the inner life of her soul, could not permit her through her love for her child, indeed, would make it impossible for her, to follow to the letter the directions in Pestalozzi's book; yet this mother did not find his writings contrary to nature, nor killing to the mind of her child; no! It was what Pestalozzi wished that she comprehended in her inmost soul. It is a joy to see that child with his angelic voice, his childlike innocence, and his love not only for his mother, but for everything that surrounds him.
It is the highest enjoyment to see how at home the child is in his world, how continually active and occupied he is in it. He stands now at a higher point of knowledge and acquaintance with the world around him, but uninjured in his innocent childishness.
This child lives a gentle inner life; he rejoices inwardly in awakening nature, and seizes everything with attention that strikes his senses which his early awakened powers of body and inind make easily possible to him. The mother followed Pestalozzi; what she did she did by following his meaning. It is not possible in the working of these principles to see the limits of the culture of body. soul and mind.
Often and willingly has this mother said, who always strove to do her duty before she knew of Pestalozzi, that from Pestalozzi she had learned how to be a mother.
Pestalozzi's Book for Mothers would have been much less unjustly judged if the second part had yet appeared. It is still wanting, alas ! Pestalozzi has not expressed his idea fully in its application ; this is an important view which every one should take before forming a judgment.
As much and even more should be taken into consideration in judging of the book, is that what Pestalozzi wishes is not limited to the
time when the faculty of speech appears in the child, or even when it actually begins to speak; no! it begins in the working and application at the moment when the child perceives outward inpressions decidedly, that is, discriminates between light and darkness. The mother must already have taught the child to observe everything, to separate everything which comes within the circle of his life, before the peculiar moment of time when the development of language begins.
I know children so treated who were a year and a half old before they began to speak, but who could discriminate between all things that immediately surrounded them, and appeared to have distinct and quite significant conceptions of everything. If the child has been so treated it has the very essential and useful advantage, when it does begin to speak, of knowing well the objects it is about to name, and hence needs not to divide its powers but can apply them unitedly in the naming of them. It can now make important progress in speaking, and this is really the case with such children.
The Book for Mothers first gave a guide for teaching the child to observe that language is the medium of syınpathy.
The mother must work according to nature, at the same time upon the child's capacity for language and its development. To elevate the social life between mother, father and child, the mother widens the child's power of language. The father, the mother, the members of the family, now teach the child the meaning of the language they speak, that they may mutually understand each other more easily, ar.d sympathize about everything that surrounds them.
But Pestalozzi not only wishes that everything that happens unconsciously shall be brought to the consciousness, that that which has happened shall not be left to chance, but that it shall happen consecutively, all-sidedly and comprehensively, and in conformity with the developing progress of the child.
The meaning of language which Pestalozzi now wishes to have the child learn is the meaning of it in the closest sense, the special meaning; for only from the knowledge of the particular and individual thing can man rise to the knowledge and command of the universal.
The child is taught then the meaning of every single word, every single expression. The manner in which this is done lies darkly in the demands of human nature, but the Book for Mothers gives this guidance in the first place.
According to Pestalozzi the child is now to learn by observation, for example, the meaning of contrasted words which it either hears or even speaks already intelligibly; as dark, bright; heavy, light; black, white; transparent, opaque; there, here; furniture, tool; animal, stone; go, sit; run, creep; coarse, fine; more, less; one, many; living, dead; prick, cut, etc. Pestalozzi here shows particularly how contrast, which he always designates as to be found in every conception, is specially cultivating.