Far ahead of its time and hit hard by the currency change to the dollar, Pestalozzi School currently operates from a single new location in the eastern section of Quito. Co-founder Rebecca Wild passed away on November 2nd, 2015. Mauricio is in failing health. Their son Leonardo, a successful author, playwright, and inventor, may be the key to continuation of this amazingly successful educational model. In September, 2014, founding members Alizee Ledecq and Sarah Gagney of La Cite Ecologique School of Life in Quebec and I had the privilege of visiting the school and collaborating with both Mauricio and Rebecca and son Leonardo. It was a valuable experience for which we are grateful.
Adapted from the original Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi’s open school model and influenced by Montessori and others, Fundacion Ecucativa Pestalozzi was established near Quito, Ecuador in 1982. It was founded by Mauricio and Rebecca Wild as a kindergarten to accommodate their 2nd son’s educational needs. Hoping to avoid the disastrous experience their first son Leonardo endured until age 13 when he bailed out of the system, they created a learning environment to stimulate each child’s curiosity and promote learning at the optimum moment in their developmental path. In this school, indigenous students learn alongside those from wealthy expat parents. Self-regulating governance insures respect of self, others, and school facilities.
This simplistic open classroom learning environment serves all learners who express interest regardless of socio-economic status. In its’ over thirty year history Pestalozzi School has never refused a learner for lack of tuition. In addition to an educational model, Mauricio Wild also created viable community based solutions to serve the parents of poorer students. Its purpose is to inspire students to learn and complete their education. Much learning is conducted in nature, a second natural stimulating classroom. This model, at one time expanded to multiple locations, and aspired to serve primary, secondary, and higher education in a country which is only now awakening to the dire need to become a leader in educational reform in South America. Mauricio envisioned it to be the model for his country’s public education system.