Oct 04 2013

Politics of Parenting: How Children Learn Through Play

One of the most important issues in society is how children are educated. And yet, it is the one thing that parents, teachers, and policy makers can rarely agree on. While most would agree that today’s public educational system is “broken,” prescriptions for improvement vary wildly. Today’s educational model has succumbed to the desire for testing every imaginable variable in school, and allocating resources based on test results.

But what about children themselves and how they actually learn things? Clearly homework and testing does little to encourage real learning – if it did, the current system would be working. It turns out that children today learn an awful lot like children thousands of years ago learned – by playing.

This is not a new concept. The Italian physician Maria Montessori studied children’s learning habits over a hundred years ago and determined that children do best when they are in an environment ruled by them rather than by teachers. Now, a book by psychologist Peter Gray distills new research on how children learn through play – it’s called Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

GUEST: Peter Gray, research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College, writes a popular blog for the magazine Psychology Today, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life; he is also the author of a highly regarded college textbook entitled Psychology

Click here to read Peter Gray’s blog.

Click here to read his article about Children and the Play Deficit.

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