Give Childhood Back to Children

An article by Peter Gray

“Give childhood back to the children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less,” The Independent (UK), January 12, 2014.

The full article can be found online here.

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Quoted Excerpts

Because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little opportunity to be creative or discover their own passions.

The main focus of my own recent research is on the value of play for children’s development. All mammals play when they are young and those that have the most to learn play the most. Carnivores play more than herbivores, because hunting is harder to learn than grazing. Primates play more than other mammals, because their way of life depends more on learning and less on fixed instincts than does that of other mammals. Human children, who have the most to learn, play far more than any other primates when they are allowed to do so. Play is the natural means by which children and other young mammals educate themselves. In hunter-gatherer bands, children are allowed to play and explore in their own chosen ways all day long, every day, because the adults understand that this is how they practise the skills that they must acquire to become effective adults.

The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions.

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Peter Gray, Ph.D. is a research bio-physiologist and professor at Boston College, and author of the textbook Psychology and the book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Website: www.bc.edu/schools/cas/psych/people/affiliated/gray.html
Email:  grayp [at] bc [dot] edu

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Though Peter Gray’s article doesn’t mention OH Cards, we present it as context for OH Card use.

 

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