FREE TO LEARN: Recommended reading for raising free kids

1360162607Gray-Free_To_rev1An evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray argues that human children, like all mammals, learn best through play – and by play, Gray means without adult involvement. If adults are directing, coaching, even observing, it isn’t real play.

Gray shows how our current educational system interferes with that learning process by denying play and free time, dictating almost all activities, and separating kids by age and expecting them all to learn the same thing at the same time. Instead, Gray advocates for a learning process completely driven by the kids themselves and with plenty of play.

He uses the Sudbury Valley as model which gives kids plenty of learning resources but puts the power in their hands to choose what they want to do every day – and yet somehow they still end up learning to read, write and do math—and yes they do graduate and many go on to college.

It’s a fascinating exploration of what democratic learning really means. While it may be hard for everyone to replicate the Sudbury Valley experience, there are many ideas and practices in Free to Learn that parents and educators can adopt themselves.


Want more practical help giving your kids freedom? Both Peter Gray along with Free Range Mom Lenore Skenazy and others have started an organization Let Grow. It helps like-minded parents and educators connect with each other to build a community around raising self-reliant, independent kids. There is power in numbers.

I’ll be recommending some of the many books that influenced my own book Achtung Baby. See previous recommendation The Wave by Todd Strasser. More to come, so check back here.

This entry was posted in Book Review, parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to FREE TO LEARN: Recommended reading for raising free kids

  1. Pingback: Want to change our overparenting culture? Read Free Range Kids and Join Let Grow | Sara Zaske

  2. Pingback: Mommy Laid an Egg! recommended reading for raising free kids | Sara Zaske

  3. Pingback: Do Parents Matter? Recommended reading for raising free kids | Sara Zaske

  4. madeleine says:

    I loved this book so much! Educators, parents, teenagers, or anyone interested in how humans learn — this book is for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s