PORTRAIT OF JANUSZ KORCZAK
This work was the goal of his life and gave it meaning to see the child as he really is, both the single child and the group of children, and each child in the group separately; to teach parents, educationalists and teachers to see children as he himself saw them and how to view them in the rich diversity of life and not from a distance in terms of book theory, which turned children into stereotypes, a multitude of cardboard characters. Professor Maria Grzegorzewska (a student of Korczak and one of Poland’s most distinguished educationalists)
Korczak – the educator
Korczak did not formulate any particular educational philosophy.
“One can learn the theory of education by rote, but an understanding knowledge of its secrets is not thus attained, rather it is a way of life based on individual personal experience.”
Korczak – the teacher
“When school begins providing children with knowledge rather than advantages, we shall give the children Spring, rather than examine them.”
Korczak – the doctor
My role as a physician is to relieve when I cannot help. To stall the advance of the disease when I cannot cure. To battle all of the symptoms, some of them, and if there is no other choice a few of them. This is the first rule, but it is not enough. I do not ask how my patient will use the health which I give him for good or for evil.”
Korczak – the writer
Korczak’s stories contain everything: mother and father and the home… above all lots of love. Perhaps there is no better way to characterise Korczak’s stories for children than to quote his own lines: “There are four small rooms in the heart, very small. One loves with the heart, so everyone says. The rooms of the heart are small And the heart contains so much: Mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, And the little canary. ….to love so much and man has only one small heart.”
Korczak – the humanist
“I have weighed and measured a hundred children every week and always with happy excitement. The two hundred grams and quarter centimetre of growth per week these are the growth of spring and the future of life reborn.”
Korczak – the advocate
Korczak demanded that children be awarded ‘The Great Bill of Rights’ among them the following:
- The child has the right to love.
- Love the child, not just your own.
- The child has the right to respect.
- Respect for the mysteries and the ups and downs of that difficult task of growing up.
- The child has the right to die prematurely.
A mother’s deep love for her child must give him the right to a premature death. Not every bush grows into a tree.