Pioneers: Pestalozzi and Montessori

Written by: Estelle Martin
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We take look at the work and influence of Johann Pestalozzi and Maria Montessori, both of whom continue to have a major influence on early years education and learning.

Key points

  • Pestalozzi was the first educationalist to consider the child’s own unique interests – their ‘child-centredness’
  • He emphasised that each child needs love, work and social interaction to underpin the right conditions for their holistic development and learning lMontessori’s approach involved observation and responding to children as they worked with the materials available to them in the learning environment
  • From her observations she found that the development of the senses, especially sight and touch, were fundamental to intellectual growth in children

Note: This article was first published in the April 2008 issue of eye


We take a step back in time this month with a look at two of the most recognisable names in the history of early years education. Both Johann Pestalozzi and Maria Montessori have made outstanding contributions to our understanding of how young children learn.

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