Just wanted to share my holiday read with you, don’t worry I whipped through the obligatory fiction novel first! I decided to take Free to Learn by Peter Gray. It was a really interesting read – if you like reading about learning and education of course! It took me a while as I had to keep putting the book down to think about what I had read.
Gray is a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College whose own son struggled in the traditional School environment. He left traditional School at 10 years old and joined Sudbury Valley where the ethos is that each student is responsible for their own education – they are ‘unschooled.’ He son settled there happily.
Gray addresses how childhood now differs greatly in that it is so much more restricted. He explores hunter-gatherer children and how they lead such a free and play filled childhood. He looks at the rise of Schools and their history, the importance of play and free age mixing.
I loved how Gray described how important child initiated games of sport are, he spells out the advantages and how adult monitored sports clubs can actually end up more dangerous. Ironic! I had so many a-ha moments reading this. He sums it up with a wonderful vision for education which works both for families who want/need ‘a school’ and of course those that choose otherwise. Gray presents a strong case for a self directed education and backs it up with historical, scientific and educational evidence.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book and as ever I am happy to pass on my creased, sun lotion splashed copy. If you are interested leave me a comment below, first come first served.
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