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Pestalozzi has been evolving for over 50 years, enabling young people in social or financial need to develop their full potential, building opportunities and instigating long term improvements in their home communities.

LeafletFrom our beginnings post-World War II…

In the aftermath of World War II, hundreds of European children were orphaned and living in refugee camps. The first Pestalozzi Village was founded in Switzerland to offer these children a home and an education. The founders named their community after the eighteenth century Swiss educationalist, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who devoted his life to closing divisions in society through education of the whole person – their Head, Heart and Hands. British supporters later established Pestalozzi in the UK, buying the property in East Sussex where we remain today. Pestalozzi was formally opened in 1959, welcoming 40 children from war-torn countries in Europe.

Read more about the history of Pestalozzi in our archives. If you remember these early days, please get in touch with the Early Pestalozzi Children Project.

…and our development in the 20th Century…

When all the refugee camps in Europe were finally disbanded, we opened our doors to academically able children who would otherwise be denied secondary education in their own countries due to poverty or lack of local facilities. Tibetan children from refugee camps in India were the first to arrive in 1963. They were later joined by others from Thailand, Palestine, India, Nepal, Nigeria and Vietnam. These children attended local schools and learnt practical skills like bricklaying, carpentry and farming. Many obtained diplomas and returned to their home communities to work in education, medicine, engineering and commerce. Some also set up educational charities.

Dr Kalpana Joshi was one of the first Indian children to arrive. Read her story in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of our Pestalozzi Newsletter.

Students at International Day 2004

…to today's flourishing programme!

By the 1990s, many countries had improved their secondary schooling facilities. Pestalozzi began to offer scholarships to young people who had already completed basic secondary education (the equivalent of GCSEs), allowing them to study for the International Baccalaureate diploma. We offer a stable and supportive environment where our students are able to achieve their full academic potential, while the rich diversity of activities and experiences at Pestalozzi helps them to flourish socially and creatively. We currently support students from nine countries, to study the enhanced A Level programme and we ensure that each young person receives the pastoral care and individual attention they need to thrive.

Read more about some of the 600+ students who have graduated from Pestalozzi.