Free to Learn


Free to Learn

The ideas in Free to Learn have revolutionized how I view education. Peter Gray makes a strong case against traditional education models, and vividly portrays an education that is child-led. He easily dispels all the arguments favoring traditional school that we have heard in polite conversation. Without regret, he compares traditional schools to prison systems. At first I thought this comparison harsh, but the parallels he draws between public education and prison systems is difficult to argue against.

While Peter’s first suggestion for implementing child-led learning is unschooling, a strong second option he presents is unschooling in a school setting. A great deal of time is spent painting ย a picture of what the Sudbury Valley (Massachusetts) education program looks like. Sudbury Valley is one of the first child-led, project based, no curriculum school in the USA. As children interact, learning happens, and children grow together. The environment of the school is there to support the child in any way he finds best to explore and interact with the world on his learning journey.

Free to Learnย is a gem of a book, with fast and sound arguments to defend a position that stands so starkly opposing the traditional public education system. It has compelled me to seek a vastly different education experience for my children, something that I knew in my heart was best for them, and now I have a more informed opinion on why the alternative really does encourage a lifelong love of learning that is self motivated.

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1 thought on “Free to Learn”

  • Being a former Special Ed educator (4th – 8th grades) Chrystine, this is a book definitely going into my library! Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Peter Gray’s “Child lead” system sounds quite familiar to another visionary and founder in England: A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School. Here’s the link to their About page and a brief quote…

    Summerhill is a democratic, self-governing school in which the adults and children have equal status. The school’s philosophy is to allow freedom for the individual – each child being able take their own path in life, and following their own interests to develop into the person that they personally feel that they are meant to be. This leads to an inner self-confidence and real acceptance of themselves as individuals. All of this is done within the school’s structure of self-government through school meetings which are at the core of the school and emphasise the distinction between freedom and licence.

    Thanks again Chrystine for sharing Peter Gray! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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