Without the freedom to play they will never grow up.
When I was a child in the 1950s, my friends and I had two educations. We had school (which was not the big deal it is today), and we also had what I call a hunter-gather education. We played in mixed-age neighbourhood groups almost every day after school, often until dark. We played all weekend and all summer long. We had time to explore in all sorts of ways, and also time to become bored and figure out how to overcome boredom, time to get into trouble and find our way out of it, time to daydream, time to immerse ourselves in hobbies, and time to read comics and whatever else we wanted to read rather than the books assigned to us. What I learnt in my hunter-gatherer education has been far more valuable to my adult life than what I learnt in school, and I think others in my age group would say the same if they took time to think about it. Click for more.
(Peter Gray is a psychologist and research professor at Boston College. He writes the Freedom to Learn blog, and is the author of Free to Learn (2013)
I sometimes tire of folks claiming everything was better in their youth or in the good ole days. But I thrived in a childhood like Peter’s, and I think he is on to something. It may have been better for children then. What do you think? John
““The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder ”