Children Educate Themselves – by Peter Gray

The following is the 4-part series “Children Educate Themselves” from Peter Gray’s blog Freedom to Learn

PART 1: Children Educate Themselves I: Outline of Some of the Evidence
As adults we do have certain responsibilities toward our children and the world’s children. It is our responsibility to create safe, health-promoting, respectful environments in which children can develop. It is our responsibility to be sure that children have proper foods, fresh air, non-toxic places to play, and lots of opportunities to interact freely with other people across the whole spectrum of ages. It is our responsibility to be models of human decency. But one thing we do not have to worry about is how to educate children. MORE

PART 2: Children Educate Themselves II: We All Know That’s True for Little Kids
Have you ever stopped to think about how much children learn in their first few years of life, before they start school, before anyone tries in any systematic way to teach them anything? Next time you are in viewing range of a child under the age of about five years old, sit back and watch for awhile. You’re in for a treat. MORE

PART 3: Children Educate Themselves III: The Wisdom of Hunter-Gatherers
Our human instincts, including all of the instinctive means by which we learn, came about in the context of a hunting-and-gathering way of life. So: How do hunter-gatherer children learn what they need to know to become effective adults? MORE

PART 4: Children Educate Themselves IV: Lessons from Sudbury Valley
The Sudbury Valley School has, for the past forty years, been the best-kept secret in American education. … Professors of education ignore it, not out of malice but because they cannot absorb it into their framework of educational thought. . . . To understand the school one has to begin with a completely different mindset from that which dominates current educational thinking. MORE

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