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The educational activity of Tolstoy forms quite a separate period in his life. The value of this activity for the advancement of popular Russian instruction has till now not been sufficiently appreciated. Teaching always attracted him. As far back as 1849, on his return from Kazan, he opened a little school on his estate. But during his stay in the Caucasus and the following eventful years the school was closed. He reopened it during the winter of 1858–59, after his first journey in Europe; but somehow it was not a success.

As we have seen, during his second journey in Europe he seriously studied the subject. Now, armed with knowledge and experience, he once again took his school in hand, and this time he carried out his intention, establishing a model for the regeneration of the Russian elementary school.

In Yasnaya Polyana he organised quite an educational circle of young teachers, amongst them a German, Herr Keller, whom he