Origin of the work:
(1652 Sárospatak), date & place not given, in the volume Primitiae laborum scholasticorum
1657 Amsterdam, in: Latinitatis schola triclassis
1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia III
1874 Prague, in the journal Škola a život, Czech translation by F. J. Zoubek
1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia III, (phototype edition)
1960 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. II
1992 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/III
In the process of founding the new school at Sárospatak, Comenius wished to advance to opening the institution only after careful preparation; above all, he wanted to ensure that the Latin textbooks were first arranged with a Hungarian text. The local nobility, however, desired that teaching begin as soon as possible. It was for this reason that Comenius sent this plan of work to Prince Sigismund Rákóczi, who at that time was at Fogarasz.
This proposal concentrates on the lower, philological level of the intended school at Sárospatak, divided into three classes, the aim of which was to provide fluency in the teaching language – Latin. The tract itself contains an introductory dedication to Prince Sigismund, three separate chapters and a conclusion. In the first chapter it considers the purpose of the study of Latin as a teaching language, which moreover thanks to its spread brings nations together in the role of interpreter. It must however be a pure Latin, free of all inelegance and barbarisms. The second chapter speaks of the books necessary to this end. There will be three textbooks, one for each class: the Vestibulum (vestibule or anteroom), intended for beginners, which will lead to a knowledge of the basics of the language, while the Janua (gate or door) will teach the construction of the language on the basis of the use of words and grammatical rules, and the Atrium (atrium or hall) will be devoted to the art of style. The third chapter too relates to their use, which should be pleasant. Emphasis is placed on the competitiveness of pupils in learning, on the teacher’s art of being able to hold the attention of students, on an objective approach, on the good example that the teacher must set, on the frequent repetition of the material and on the correction of errors from the very outset. The conclusion provides instruction on the transition to readings from the Classical Latin authors.
This treatment was included by Comenius, along with the two earlier Sárospatak speeches On the education of the spirit (the De cultura ingeniorum) and On how to skilfully work with books (the De libris) in the volume Basics of scholastic labour (the Primitiae laborum).
For further study, see also:
Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. II. Prague 1960, p480
J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp452-453
J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/III. Prague 1992, pp335-339