Something We Can Learn From A Ukrainian Educator

Vasilii Sukhomlinsky was a famous Ukrainian educator, and many of his concepts are applicable today in the U.S. and all over the globe.  He was one of the few noted educators to delight in teaching pre-school, because he realized that the seeds of learning need to be planted early.  He believed that it was important for children to experience words before learning them.  Thus, he took his students on nature trips pointing out what interested them.  Later, they learned to form words and do simple drawings.  As their vocabulary grew, the children were encouraged to write brief compositions on what they saw in nature.(Although my Grandma Lillian and my Dad didn’t know it, they were applying Sukomlinsky’s ideas to my mental development.)  Sukhomlinsky also believed that every child should grow a rose.  He believed a child attuned to beauty will develop a sensitivity towards all living things.  Readers interested in learning more about Sukhomlinsky’s philosophy are referred to my highly edited translation, I Give My Life to Children.

“When you think about a child’s brain, picture a tender rose petal holding a trembling drop of dew.  Imagine what care and tenderness you need to exhibit, so that the drop doesn’t spill after you remove the petal.  This is the very care which we(teachers) need to show every moment;  after all, we are touching the most delicate and tender thing in nature– the thinking matter of a growing organism.”