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  • Listen to Michael Sandler's interview with Peter Gray on giving your children the Freedom to Play to make them more resilient & set them up for a lifetime of success.

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Peter Gray Shares How Unleashing the Instinct to Play Makes Children Happier, More Resilient, and Better Students!

Listen to the podcast below!




If you’ve ever wanted your children to be happier, healthier and more successful in all that they do, then do we have the playful show for you.

Today I’ll be talking with Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, the author of the college textbook Psychology, and the author of what I consider a must-read for parents, and those considering parenting…Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life.

And that’s what we’ll talk about today, about helping our kids steer their own learning and development to help them problem solve, get along with peers, gain control over their lives, and become emotionally resilient.

That plus we’ll talk about playing with matches and machetes, the secret weapon of teaching, diabetes, ‘shmiabetes’, the competition for the world’s worst parent…and traveling to the UK, what’s the big fat elephant in the school room, and why all we really need to know, we could learn from Ruby Lou.

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Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7th 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). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine.

His own play includes not only his writing and research, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, cross country skiing, and vegetable gardening.  Before joining the faculty at Boston College, he earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and Ph.D. in biological sciences at the Rockefeller University, and taught at Hunter College and City College in New York.


Peter Gray Online: Website | Facebook

Key Topics:

  • Why children’s creativity is so important
  • What’s happening with children’s ‘education’ today
  • What learning should be about for children
  • Why 20% of boys in the US are considered mentally disordered
  • What’s the Sudbury Valley School?
  • Who was Ruby Lou?
  • What it means ‘there’s no running on the playground?’
  • Why academics is a much weightier part of children’s lives now.
  • How the educational experience has changed, particularly for elementary school children
  • Why children need to be able to roam free and play
  • What are hunter, gatherer children and the importance of play
  • What Darwinian psychology has to do with evolution and play
  • How hunter gatherer families raised children and how children were empowered
  • What is trustful parenting?
  • What it means that children grow up playing with machetes and matches
  • How to turn your neighborhood into a play-berhood
  • Why current education may be a violation of a student’s human rights
  • Are there more schools around that are like Sudbury Valley School?

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