Pestalozzi 2019 – 60 years in Sedlescombe!

It’s almost time for a celebration!

On Saturday, 15thAugust, 1959, the first child arrived at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Sedlescombe, East Sussex. 2019 will be the sixtieth anniversary of that event – the beginning of a Pestalozzi presence in the UK.

As a result, this small beginning has spread across the world, sending its wards to numerous nations around the world. Additionally, spin-off Pestalozzi communities are gradually developing in more countries, giving previously unimagined opportunities to very bright children living without the hope of qualification or any academic future.

The Early Pestalozzi Children Project is in discussions with the Pestalozzi International Village Trust to encourage celebration at Sedlescombe, in June 2019, of the nearly sixty years since this moment.  Our plan is to engage as many as possible of all the former Pestalozzi children and students – who either lived at Sedlescombe or with one of the other associated organisations.

A celebration across the world

We also realise that many of the hundreds of our ex-Pests around the world will be unable to make it to the UK.  We want you to celebrate too! We’d love everyone to salute their memories of a unique period in their lives.

Can you organise or support a Pestalozzi gathering in your country – or in your local area, town or village – next year? We’d love to know that you will be able to get together! It doesn’t have to be elaborate! Just people gathering, remembering and celebrating.

Share with those visiting Sedlescombe!

We also want to share your local event at Sedlescombe when we meet here. Think about sending us a short video clip or some photos – along with some memories of what made Pestalozzi special. Let us know what you’re doing now! We want everyone to be involved – wherever you are. If the time is right, we could even have a video link-up!

Are you on your own, somewhere in the world?  No way of linking up with other ex-Pests?  No worries – around the planned time, just send us a photo and message or short video of you celebrating what Pestalozzi has meant to you.  We will see that your contribution is included!

It doesn’t matter if you were at Pestalozzi in care or as an academic student. If you are ex-Pestalozzi Children’s Village, ex- PIVT, ex-Pestalozzi World – or any of the organisations with a link to our home in Sedlescombe, then let us know. We want you to have the chance to acknowledge your appreciation for the community that you lived in.  If you are currently living in one of these Pestalozzi communities, you are every bit as welcome!

As you may know, Pestalozzi will cease its presence in Sedlescombe after the current academic year (2018/2019).  This is an utterly sad moment for us – but it must not stop celebration of the positive memories of worthwhile opportunities and the friendships made.

Keep in touch!

We will let you know more of the plans as they develop. Do let us know what you think – and how you might be involved.

Finally, if you are an ex-staff member or supporter, we’re keen to hear from you, too. People who have worked with us or have supported us are important as well. Your memories will an important  element in remembering our story.

If you have any questions,
get in touch at 
or on our contact page

Watch this space (and our Facebook page) for more details about
#pestfest60  (this is our tag for the time being!).

Celebrating the work of PETT!

We have just spent the weekend at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust (PETT) in Toddington, Gloucestershire. We were there to celebrate their achievements and their support for others over the years.  A wide range of people spoke on the importance and value of PETT – both academically and practically.   PETT has been particularly effective in actively bringing together individuals and groups who have then been able to benefit from each other’s experiences and knowledge. Our project was invited to speak about how the organisation helped us establish our organisation and learn to conduct our research into the early history of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Sedlescombe.

The Early Pestalozzi Children Project LogoWe were able to show the audience,  with the support of PETT and sage advice from its archivist, Craig Fees, how far we’ve come in five years. In 2013 we had no idea that we could even do this work! Since then we’ve learnt to research archives; present our story to a range of audiences (including the Oral History Society and the University of Brighton); recover connections with past Pestalozzi staff (from the 1960s!).  Now we are even reaching out to the entire Pestalozzi community that has evolved internationally from that acorn at Oaklands Park in 1959!  We are also in the process of writing a book about our Pestalozzi story.

Of course, we have needed finances to get this far – but our success here was also helped by the generous time spent by PETT giving us advice on our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The nett result: £9,900 to get us off the ground (but it’s unbelievable how quickly that gets used!).

PETT has worked with other community groups over many years. Of note for us are the Wennington School Association and the Caldecott Community Association (whose history has a special link with our early Pestalozzi community). We are grateful for the enthusiastic support generously offered by these groups when we have visited PETT’s archive and study centre. Their appreciation of our emotional connection with our Pestalozzi upbringing gave us the confidence to engage with them.

There is also a need to make mention of something special about PETT that has struck us over the past five years – and this links to our experiences with the early Pestalozzi organisation that cared for us. When we arrived at Pestalozzi, the same atmosphere prevailed – they were all in it together.  The enthusiasm for the activities at PETT has always been visible among all the staff: support, catering, admin, professional – the lot.  We know they care.

Our experience with PETT has enabled us to emerge as credible project organisers with an exciting and worthy goal.

Our heartfelt thanks to Craig and all those at PETT with him who have helped us create and take on this project.

Find out more:

If you would like to know more about the Planned Environment Therapy Trust – in particular the Archive & Study Centre – then take a look at this link.

If you have questions for us about it, get in touch here!