Free to Learn
Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
Basic Books 2013
In his book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013), Peter Gray proposes the following big idea: we shouldn’t force children to learn, rather we should allow them to play and learn by themselves. This, of course, is a radical proposal. But Peter points out that the play-and-learn-along-the-way style of education was practiced by humans for over 99% our history: hunter-gatherers did not have schools, but children in them somehow managed to learn everything they needed to be good members of their bands. Peter says we should take a page out of their book and points to a school that has done just that: The Sudbury Valley School.
(BTW: Peter has some very thoughtful things to say about the way standard schools actually promote bullying and are powerless to prevent it or remedy it once it’s happened. Listen in.)