What is the Pestalozzi Trust?
In the Pestalozzi Trust, a large number of South African homeschoolers and cottage schools work together to protect one another’s freedom to provide home and private education. This means that they can educate their children lawfully and without unjustified interference.
At the same time they ensure this freedom also for their grandchildren.
In 1998 the Trust was established by a group of Christians to protect the rights and freedoms of all families to educate their children at home according to their own religious and/or philosophical persuasions, pedagogical convictions and cultural traditions.
Ten years later, it became apparent that the need for the protection of the right to education is just as great among the learners, parents and teachers in schools, and especially cottage schools. Accordingly, the Trust decided to also accept private schools as members, whether they are registered with education departments or not.
Prevention of conflict
We prevent conflict between the authorities and all homeschoolers and cottage schools by promoting knowledge of the rights related to education and by negotiating better policy on home and private education.
We keep our members out of court by assisting member families and member institutions who do get into conflict with the authorities. We strive to resolve conflict before a court case becomes necessary.
Should our members nevertheless have to appear in court, we carry the cost of a competent legal team and the necessary expert witnesses.
Who owns the Pestalozzi Trust?
The Pestalozzi Trust is a non-profit Trust governed by a Board of Trustees. It is funded from the fee that members pay and a small number of unsolicited donations.
Funds may only be used to protect the freedom of education.
The financial statements of the Trust are audited annually by an independent auditing firm.
PLEASE NOTE: The Trust represents its members ONLY in conflicts with organs of the state. This means that it CANNOT represent its members in conflicts
- between parents about custody of the children and their home education;
- between parents or learners and the cottage schools that they use;
- with curriculum suppliers; and/or
- that have their origin in events that precede the commencement of membership.
How does the Trust work?
Reliable, research based information on home and small scale education is essential to defend the freedom of education in the community and in the courts.
There are, already, many research results from other countries, but it must be supported by local research to confirm that the foreign results can be applied in South Africa.
For this reason, the Trust supports and promotes academic and other research according to its capacity. Since the Trust was established, several researchers who were supported by the Trust have completed theses at Masters’ and Doctoral level.
The Trust’s emergency number is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, for members with urgent problems. The office number is available for general enquiries from members and from the public.
Members make use of this service when the police, social workers or education officials arrive unannounced and demand entry to the family home or the school premises.
In all cases the Trust has been able to assist the family in defusing the conflict without the matter escalating to court cases.
It is essential that members contact the Trust immediately when conflict arises
Ignorance of home and small scale education is its greatest enemy. For that reason it is a priority of the Trust to distribute reliable information about education.
To Government. The Trust submits written and oral presentations, affidavits, and testimony to Parliament, government commissions, courts and officials.
To the Media. By means of media statements and interviews the Trust contributes to newspaper reports, magazine articles, and radio and TV programmes on home and small scale education.
To the Public. By means of email the Trust distributes authoritative information in response to public enquiries.
Workshops. The Trust offers workshops on home and small scale education and the relevant legal aspects countrywide, and provides speakers for conferences and expos.
Internet. The Trust’s web page www.pestalozzi.org and the Facebook page of the Trust cast light on various aspects of home and small scale education in South Africa. The [tuisonderwys] discussion forum on the internet is accessible to anyone and provides a forum for fresh information, discussion and support for new homeschoolers and experienced ones alike.
Telephonic. The Trust also handles many telephonic enquiries from members and from the public.
The SA Constitution and common law places on parents the duty to protect the best interests of their children against unlawful interference, also by organs and officials of the state.
Experience shows, though, that parents can only protect the rights and freedoms of their children if they know what those rights and freedoms are, and when they are being threatened.
For this reason the Trust provides its members with information relating to home and small school education, the legal relevant legal aspects, and the parents’ duties, rights and freedoms.
The Trust also advises members on appropriate responses when the education is threatened by state actions.
Mr Bouwe van der Eems (Chairman and Treasurer), has an M.SC (Engineering) and runs www.sahomeschoolers.org. He home schooled all his children, and has been involved in the Trust for the past 15 years.
Mrs Karin van Oostrum (Manager) has been home schooling her own children for more than 25 years and has been managing the Pestalozzi Trust since its inception together with her late husband, Leendert van Oostrum. She advises many homeschoolers.
Mr Henri Slabbert is a retired school teacher with specialist qualifications in education management, and an experienced home schooler and home schooling leader.
Mr. Shaun Green is active in architecture and in the Association for Home Schooling, and his own children have received home education since birth.
Adv Andre Williams home schooled his own children, and has taken part in discussions with the authorities on home education policy.