Remembering our Founder

Prof. Reuven Feuerstein, world renowned educational and developmental psychologist, visionary and founder of the Feuerstein Institute, passed away on April 29th, in Jerusalem, Israel. He was 92 years old.

Born in Romania, Feuerstein showed an interest in education at an early age. He attended college in Bucharest before being forced to flee for his life. After settling in Mandate Palestine in 1945, he worked in youth villages, educating child survivors of the Holocaust until 1948. This was the beginning of a long career that would address the psychological and educational needs of immigrant, refugee and otherwise disadvantaged populations.

Feuerstein returned to Europe to complete degrees in General and Clinical Psychology at the University of Geneva, where he studied under Jean Piaget and Andre Rey. In 1970, he earned his PhD in Developmental Psychology at the Sorbonne University, France.

While in Europe, Feuerstein served as the Director of Psychological Services of Youth Aliyah in Europe. In this capacity, he was responsible for assigning candidates for emigration to educational programs. At that time he discovered that when standard IQ tests were administered to Moroccan Jewish children they performed poorly, but if guided by a mediator, their performance improved dramatically. This experience made Professor Feuerstein question current beliefs regarding the stability of intelligence, and posit that cultural differences in learning styles were the real issue. He developed new methods of evaluation and teaching tools that search for the learning potential of the person and expand and maximize on those abilities.

This period was seminal to the development of Feuerstein's hypothesis concerning low functioning children and their potential for change.He discovered that the key to meaningful instruction is the mediated relationship. Since the 1970's Feuerstein has been working in Israel, applying the tools he developed for evaluating and teaching cognition to Down syndrome children and eventually to victims of stroke, dementia, cerebral palsy, autism and other conditions. The Feuerstein Institute, which he founded and directed, treats people from around the world and trains therapists and educators internationally in the famed Feuerstein Method.

For his groundbreaking work, Feuerstein has received numerous awards. These include, among others, the Israel Prize in Education; and the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques, France. He also was a 2012 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Above all, Feuerstein epitomized the teaching of "love your fellow as you love yourself"-regardless of religion, race or nationality.  His care for each individual who came for help and guidance was unparalleled. A genius clinician, he gave hope and direction to many thousands of parents of children with special needs and learning difficulties about how to advance and integrate them and bring them to lead meaningful, giving lives.  He has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and will be sorely missed by all who knew him and knew of him.  

A foundation  has been formed in Professor Feuerstein's memory, to fulfill his legacy of helping those who need it most. Please click here to learn more about the Feuerstein Heritage Foundation and the important projects we endeavor to undertake.

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The Feuerstein Institute | The International Institute for the Enhancement of Learning Potential
47 Narkiss Street, PO Box 7755, Jerusalem 91077, Israel | +972-2-5693333 | E-mail: info@icelp.org.il site by red-id