Charlotte Mason said that “When we say that 'education is an atmosphere,' we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child-environment' especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child's level.”
To help me understand the educational value of the the natural home environment, I’ve invited Dr Peter Gray on the podcast today to discuss his experience and research in this area. This episode is part 1 of our conversation. We cover topics like why a classroom environment does not foster meaningful learning,
why children learn better from from real life experiences, why public schools were started (and how they operate), and why the classroom environment actually nurtures anxiety, stress and bullying.
Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology and neuroscience at Boston College who has conducted and published research in behavioral biology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 8th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books), which has been translated into 18 languages. He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn , for Psychology Today magazine. He is one of the founders of the nonprofit Alliance for Self-Directed Education and of the nonprofit Let Grow , the mission of which is to renew children’s freedom to play and explore independently of adult control. You can follow him on Facebook and find many of his published articles on his website .
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