What we can learn from Janusz Korczak?

Hej, it’s Martyna.

Last time I got deeper in life of really famous teacher and writer Janusz Korczak. I am spending every day with kids. His books and tips that he is giving to teachers and parents are really important and timeless. 

Janusz Korczak was famous pedagogist with Jewish roots. His write works were known even in another countries. He was writing for adult people and also fairy tales for kids. 

Korczak was writing a lot about children’s rights:

1. Children’s right to be what they are

2. Children’s right to the present day

3. Children’s right to respect

Every adult, especially teacher and parent as an authority for kids should respect children’s rights. Basic needs of kids will not change, they was and will be the same. Every kid needs to feel secure, feel loved and be happy. 

First right is about child’s individuality, character, interests, difficulties and talents. About letting the kid be itself and supporting in everything. Korczak was writing that sometimes we are meeting with situation of creating “perfect human” begging from the childhood. We want the kid to be able to do everything that we just taught him. To understand from the first time, and know things without even hearing about this knowledge before. Every fail is punished and it’s always kid’s fault. Acting like this we are missing the goal. Without patience, empathy and understanding we won’t create confident, open, brave and happy human. We always have to take care of the child. Make to him conditions to properly development. We should support the kid with discovering talents and fighting the difficulties. 

“Child is a foreigner, he doesn’t understand language, he doesn’t know directions of the streets, he doesn’t know the law and lifeway. Sometimes he prefers to watch on his own. When he has doubts, he’s asking for a tip and advice. He needs a guide, who gently will answer the question”. This quote of Janusz Korczak gives adults right way to breed a kid. Adult should stay behind the kid and even in front of him. Adult should be next to the kid. I think it’s the right place. We should let the kid take our hand and discover the world with him, look on everything with kid’s eyes.

Children’s right to the present day teaching the adult to let a kid make a decision about activity he want to do during the day. We should respect natural desire of kids to discover. They can remember things better if they experience that. Somethimes 15 minutes of kids own activiti is giving better results than boring sitting in front of the board in school. Kids should decide on their own about things they will manage. Then kids will feel that they have life in their hands, a control. They will be more confident and it also teach them the consequences of decisions. 

About children’s right to respect Korczak is writing a lot. He mentioned about respect to children’s ignorance, failure and tears, property and budget and secrets. If we are teaching the kid a respect for adults, we should also have a respect to kid. We should show the children that we are on the same level, not above them. They are like a monkeys. They are repeating our behavior. So they will treat us as we treat them. 

Every pedagogist, adult and parent should respect all those rights. Korczak in his books showing us how to deal with little human. How to talk, how to behave, how to treat.

In my opinion every adult should save his inner kid. At least part of it. Because we will be able to understand kids better, get into their world. Korczak was writing the books basing on his life, his experience with pupils. 

To Korczak’s books i always come back with pleasure and it gives me new hope and more positive power to work with children.

Martyna from Poland, volunteer in Special Need School no 4 in Sosnowiec



Author: European Volunteers in Poland

A blog curated by volunteers taking part in European Solidarity Corps initiative in Poland and coordinated by Active Woman Association

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