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Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life Hardcover – 1 September 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 161 ratings

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Laurette Lynn, Unplugged Mom.com "[A] well written, well organized and beautifully stated piece of work...I emphatically recommend this book for any parent as well as any educator or anyone interested in improving education for our society." Mothering.com "[Free to Learn is] a powerful agent of transformation. I'd like to put a copy in the hands of every parent, teacher, and policy maker." Publishers Weekly "[E]nergetic...Gray powerfully argues that schools inhibit learning... [Gray's] vivid illustrations of the 'power of play' to shape an individual are bound to provoke a renewed conversation about turning the tide in an educational system that fosters conformity and inhibits creative thinking." Frank Forencich, author of Exuberant Animal and Change Your Body, Change the World "Free to Learn is a courageous and profoundly important book. Peter Gray joins the likes of Richard Louv and Alfie Kohn in speaking out for a more humane, compassionate and effective approach to education." Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works "Peter Gray is one of the world's experts on the evolution of childhood play, and applies his encyclopedic knowledge of psychology, and his humane voice, to the pressing issue of educational reform. Though I am not sure I agree with all of his recommendations, he forces us all to rethink our convictions on how schools should be designed to accommodate the ways that children learn." Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids "All kids love learning. Most don't love school. That's a disconnect we've avoided discussing--until this lightning bolt of a book. If you've ever wondered why your curious kid is turning into a sullen slug at school, Peter Gray's Free to Learn has the answer. He also has the antidote." David Sloan Wilson, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University, and author of Evolution for Everyone "The modern educational system is like a wish made in a folk tale gone horribly wrong. Peter Gray's Free to Learn leads us out of the maze of unforeseen consequences to a more natural way of letting children educate themselves. Gray's message might seem too good to be true, but it rests upon a strong scientific foundation. Free to Learn can have an immediate impact on the children in your life." Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, author of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool "A compelling and most enjoyable read. Gray illustrates how removing play from childhood, in combination with increasing the pressures of modern-day schooling, paradoxically reduces the very skills we want our children to learn. The decline of play is serious business." Stuart Brown, M.D., Founder and President, The National Institute for Play, and author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul "Peter Gray's Free to Learn is profoundly necessary as a fundamental illumination of the continuing tragedy and entrapment of both kids and their teachers in a generally failing and failed educational system. Gray demonstrates through science and evolutionary biology that the human species is designed to play, is built through play, and that for kids, play equals learning. Free to Learn is timely, paradigm shifting, and essential for our long term survival as adaptive humans."

About the Author

Peter Gray is a research professor in the Department of Psychology at Boston College. The author of Psychology, a highly regarded college textbook, he writes a popular blog called Freedom to Learn for Psychology Today. He lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 149 reviews
B. Dixon
5.0 out of 5 starsCompelling…though I don’t fully agree
22 February 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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382 people found this helpful.
5HappyCampers
5.0 out of 5 starsMust read if you're frustrated with public schools
8 June 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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15 people found this helpful.
Josey Jacques
4.0 out of 5 starsa bit of faulty logic, but otherwise, a very worthwhile read RE education
31 December 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
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27 people found this helpful.