Salesian Preventive System

Salesian Preventive System is the educative method developed by the Salesians upon the pedagogical experience of Saint John Bosco with poor youngsters in 19th century Turin. It is based on three pillars: reason, religion and loving-kindness. Even if Don Bosco appears as the main representative of this method of education and formation of the young, other characters have contributed to its previous development like Philip Neri and Francis de Sales. It is also opposed to what Don Bosco refers to in education as the Repressive System of Education.[1]

Don Bosco wrote only one essay explaining his pedagogical method in 1877, The Preventive System in the Education of the Young,[2] that was included in the first Salesian Constitutions.


The history of the Salesian Preventive System can be traced in the life and apostolate of Saint John Bosco (1815–1888). During the second half of the 19th century, Don Bosco began a work among poor youth in Turin, especially those who were homeless, orphans and who survived early childhood as a result of the Industrial Revolution. A few decades earlier most of the children of the poor would not have lived until adulthood. The industrial revolution lead to living children who needed direction.

As Don Bosco did not write extensively on the matter, the educational preventive system may be studied in the identity and actions of Don Bosco.[3] Carlo Nanni defined Don Bosco as a man of action rather than a scholar. The following works concern the preventive system in the education of the youth according to Don Bosco and the Salesians:

  1. The Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco is a compilation of the life of Don Bosco written by his secretary, Fr. Giovanni Battista Lemoyne.[4]
  2. The Preventive System in the Education of the Youth was a document written in 1877 to be included in the rules of the Salesian Order.[2]


This system is used widely by instructors across Don Bosco Schools and Institutes globally for effectively educating youth. These include schools like Don Bosco Bandel, Don Bosco School, Park Circus, Don Bosco School (Alaknanda, New Delhi), Don Bosco High & Technical School, Liluah, St. John Bosco High School and Salesian High School (Richmond).


  1. "The Preventive System in the Education of the Young". Don Bosco Khmer, Phnom Penh. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  2. 1 2 Regolamento per le case della Società di S. Francesco di Sales. Tipografia Salesiana, OE XXIX. 1877. pp. 3–13. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  3. Il Sistema Preventivo di Don Bosco. Elledici. 2003. p. 7. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. Lemoyne, Giovanni Battista (1965). The Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco. Salesiana Publisher, INC.
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