The Salesian System of Education – The Preventive System

All educational activity within a Salesian School is carried out according to a basic philosophy which is usually referred to as The Preventive System. The Preventive System is a stream of positive activity flowing throughout the whole school, from the Principal to the youngest students which by its very positiveness excludes disorders and negativity.


‘Prae-venire’ in Latin from which comes the word ‘preventive’, means “to come beforehand”.   The System demands an open, ready mind, constantly on the alert, ready and prepared for any eventuality.   It lays upon the Principal and his advisers, the responsibility of creating an educative environment which allows the teachers and students to carry out their duties without tension or hardship.   In this regard the physical and educational structures should be constantly reviewed so that any in-built cause of disorder may be eliminated.


The Preventive System demands from the teachers a well-planned, suitable, interesting course of studies for the students.   How often disciplinary problems among the students are the direct result of hasty, or non-prepared classes.   Students should know in advance the year’s general program, the monthly and weekly proposed areas to cover.   A teacher who does not conscientiously prepare his classes, fails not only against the Preventive System, but also against justice.

  1. A Salesian School is one global unit.  Teachers are assistants, guides and directors, and should be found often with the students.  They should join, if possible, in student activities, be present in recreation with them, not as supervisors, but as assistants.
  2. The Monitor System of St. John Bosco is to be favoured.  Teachers, therefore, will delegate areas of responsibility to suitable class members.  Students must always be kept busy and occupied, in the classroom and outside it.  This demands far-sightedness, planning and organisation.
  3. In this atmosphere of positive activity, understanding and tolerance, the real work of education – personality and character development – can be carried on.
  4. Gentleness, understanding and patience must be exercised at all times.  “The System is based entirely on reason and religion, and above all, on kindness; therefore it excludes all violent punishment, and tries to do without the slightest chastisement.” (St. John Bosco)