Sightlines Initiative

promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education


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Learning in Nature

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My Heart I Give to Children

Vasily Sukhomlinsky

“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,

It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

With these words from Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road’ Sukhomlinsky closes his account of how he educated young children in a Ukrainian village during the aftermath of the Second World War. Vasily Sukhomlinsky (1918 – 1970) was principal of the same rural school in Pavlysh, central Ukraine, for twenty-two years. His remarkable work attracted thousands of visitors, some of whom travelled from the length and breadth of the Soviet Union to see his school with their own eyes. One visiting principal commented: ‘I have spent only one day in this remarkable school … but I have learnt as much as I did in four years at teachers college.’ (M. Manukian)