William & Len were invited to present a paper to a newly created Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Oral History Society at a one-day conference held at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in Toddington, Gloucestershire last week.
The SIG, titled “Psycho-Social Therapies and Care Environments” is a new group organised by Oral History Society trustees, Dr Craig Fees and Verusca Calabria.
Our presentation described our experiences establishing and conducting the Early Pestalozzi Children Project. Older delegates were well aware of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village of the 1960s (and its iconic ladybird) – but there was no clear recollection of how it had operated.
We also had the fortune to listen to several other oral history practitioners who have had a variety of experiences in very different environments. The highlight was a talk by the noted American author, educator and researcher Dr Carolyn Mears (recognised for her research in managing community-based trauma).
We were lucky enough to spend the following morning in conversation with Carolyn about our Pestalozzi community experiences and the situations that led us to live there.
The experience was extremely valuable and has left us delighted with the level of interest shown in our story and our Project.
If you wish to know more about our presentation, the conference – or our Project, generally, contact us here.
We wish to express our appreciation to the Heritage Lottery Fund for providing us with a Sharing Heritage grant which has enabled us to finance our attendance at this conference.
Some of our early Pestalozzi family were delighted to attend the opening of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust’s new Pestalozzi Centre in Sedlescombe in April.
The Pestalozzi Centre is a new building that will provide a high-quality meeting, learning and teaching space for the students. When not in use by current Pestalozzi students, it is expected that other charities and local organisations will make use of the space. For those who recall the Village, the new Centre is located on the high ground to the south of Sainsbury House (originally known as International House).
The Centre was formally opened by the long-serving Patron of the Pestalozzi International Village Trust, HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO.
The ceremony was highlighted by an impressive concluding speech from current Nepalese Pestalozzi student, Bigyan Regmi.
We are delighted to announce that the University of Brighton has generously offered to provide some advice and assistance to the Early Pestalozzi Children Project. Advice will especially relate to managing ethical issues , promotion of the project and publication of our results. Their assistance will help us to locate our “missing” early Pestalozzi children, share our Pestalozzi heritage with the local community and engage with other organisations with a common interest in this story.
Our thanks go to Professor Stuart Laing, Dr Nicola Smith and Dr Deborah Madden for their interest and encouragement.
We will post further updates as we see the progress of this much appreciated support.