Free to Learn


Free to Learn by Peter Gray

Why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant and better students for life

In Free to Learn , developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act,both as parents and as members of society,to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.

Replacement Value: $22

Prologue ix
CHAPTER 1 What Have We Done to Childhood? 1
CHAPTER 2 The Play-Filled Lives of Hunter-Gatherer Children 21
CHAPTER 3 Why Schools Are What They Are: A Brief History of Education 42
CHAPTER 4 Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education 66
CHAPTER 5 Lessons from Sudbury Valley: Mother Nature Can Prevail in Modern Times 85
CHAPTER 6 The Human Educative Instincts 110
CHAPTER 7 The Playful State of Mind 132
CHAPTER 8 The Role of Play in Social and Emotional Development 157
CHAPTER 9 Free Age Mixing: A Key Ingredient for Children's Capacity for Self-Education 181
CHAPTER 10 Trustful Parenting in Our Modern World 205 Acknowledgments 237 Notes 239 Bibliography 249 Index 265