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Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) was one of the early modern educational reformers. Inspired by the philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Pestalozzi attempted to apply Rousseau’s principles to develop an effective approach to the education of children. He saw practical, relevant education as the key to transforming the lives of the poor. He argued it should arise from self-activity and develop the ‘head, heart, and hand’. This entry first discusses Pestalozzi’s early life and education and then explores his career as an educational reformer, his educational philosophy, and his legacy.

Early Life and Education

Pestalozzi was born in 1746 in Zurich, Switzerland, descended from Italian Protestants who had fled religious persecution. At age 5 years, his comfortable middle-class upbringing came to an end with the death of his father. From ...

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