Orbis Pictus – the first ever picture book was published in 1658. It was a kind of a picture encyclopedia for children with 150 ‘cuts.’ It was printed in Latin and German, a year later in English and a few years later in Italian and French also… It had a long-lasting influence on children’s education. In Czech was published first in Levoca, a beautiful city in Slovakia today. This was the first primer ever.
(Master) Teacher – Come boy, learn to be wise.
(Boy) Student – What does this mean, to be wise?
Teacher – To understand rightly, to do rightly, and to speak out rightly all that are necessary.
Student – Who will teach me this?
Teacher – I, by God’s help.
Student – How?
Teacher – I will guide you through all. I will show you all. I will name you all.
Student – See, Here I am, lead me in the name of God.
Children in Europe were subjects of programs that ignored the differences between children of various ages. That program required that all children learn Latin while reading classical texts far beyond their comprehension. The method was memorization and/or brutal punishment. One observer of XVII century schools stated that they ‘seemed to have been the invention of some wicked spirit, the enemy of the human race’. Comenius decided to change that and succeeded. We can call him a father of the modern day educational system.
Jan Komensky (John Amos Comenius) got his middle name Amos as being a very fond of people. Born in Moravia, he was a Bishop of the Moravian Brethren (Protestant), but later a persecuted refugee. He wrote a book Didactica Magna in which he discussed the concept of universal education. Comenius stated that school system should be consisted of: kindergarten, elementary school, secondary school, college and finally university. Sounds familiar today.
Comenius died in Amsterdam in 1670. He was a mystical theologian who believed in prophecies, dreams and revelations. He tried to make Louis XIV of France to go into a war against the enemies of God…
Happy October – the month of Protestantism.