House of the Free Child

House of the Free Child

 

an experimental school for children between the ages of five and ten, organized in 1906 by the members of the Moscow Circle for Coeducational Upbringing and Learning (headed by K. N. Venttsel’), who, during the period of the Revolution of 1905-07, promoted the idea of creating “new schools” based on the principles formulated by exponents of the petit bourgeois theory of free education.

The House of the Free Child was a self-governing pedagogical collective, uniting children, teachers, and parents on an equal basis. Initially, lessons were based on the free grouping of children according to their interests. The children’s creative work was the center of the curriculum; teaching was considered secondary and was reduced to the answering of questions that arose among the children in the process of the working lessons. The experience gained from the House of the Free Child demonstrated that the pupils did not acquire the knowledge necessary for the continuation of their education, and various parents began to transfer their children to ordinary schools. The directors of the House of the Free Child introduced regular studies and a classroom instruction system, replaced temporary teachers by staff teachers, and so on. But all these “innovations” contradicted the theory of free education, and in 1909 the House of the Free Child was discontinued.

REFERENCES

Venttsel’, K. N. Dom svobodnogo rebenka (Kak sozdat’ svobodnuiu shkolu), 3rd ed. Moscow, 1923.
Kistiakovskaia, M. V., and E. E. Gorbunova-Posadova. Pervyi opyt trudovoi shkoly: “Dom svobodnogo rebenka.” Moscow-Petrograd, 1923.
Chuvashev, I. V. Ocherkipo istorii doshkol’nogo vospitaniia v Rossii (do Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii). Moscow, 1955. Pages 281-88.

M. F. SHABAEVA

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