Iasnaia Poliana School

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iasnaia Poliana School


a primary school operated by L. N. Tolstoy at his estate lasnaia Poliana from 1859 to 1862 for the peasant children of the surrounding villages. Four teachers worked there, in addition to Tolstoy. The school had junior and senior classes, each with two divisions. Instruction was free and coeducational.

The Iasnaia Poliana School has gone down in history as an experimental pedagogical institution in which instruction was structured around the activity, independence, and creative initiative of children and respect for the child’s personality and regard for his interests. In addition to instruction in the Russian language and arithmetic, the teachers held discussions with the children about history and the natural sciences and on ethical themes. Gymnastics, singing, drawing, carpentry, and farming were also studied, and various excursions were conducted. All of this placed the Iasnaia Poliana School among the ranks of the progressive public schools of the 1860’s. The complete freedom of choice offered to the children in selecting studies outside the fixed curriculum reflected the ideas of freedom in education.


Tolstoy, L. N. Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 8. Moscow, 1936.
Cherayshevskii, N. G. Poln. sobr. soch. v 15-ti tomakh, vol. 10. Moscow, 1951. Pages 503–17.
Krupskaia, N. K. Pedagogicheskie soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957–58.
Iasnopolianskaia shkola im L. N. Tolstogo: Materialy nauchnoi sessii Akad. pedagogicheskikh nouk RSFSR, posviashchennoi 100-letiiu lasnopolianskoi shkoly. Moscow, 1960.
Sovetskaiapedagogika, 1978, no. 9.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.