Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

Evolutionary Functions of Social Play

Many research findings about animal play apply to children’s play, revealing structural and functional similarities with mammals in general and primates in particular. After an introduction to life-history theory, and before turning to humans, the author reviews research about the … Continue reading

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The Role of Game Play in Children’s Social Development

The authors review several case studies of children engaged in rule-governed play and conclude that the process of learning rules—and of breaking them and making new ones—promotes what they call gamesmanship. They link the development of gamesmanship to the theory … Continue reading

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The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents

Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, … Continue reading

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The Natural Environment for Children’s Self-Education

For the past forty years, the Sudbury Valley School has been proving that the human instincts for self-education can provide the foundation for education in our modern society. At this school, children and adolescents explore, play, and converse as they … Continue reading

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The Special Value of Children’s Age-Mixed Play

From an evolutionary perspective, the normal social play of children involves kids of various ages. Our human and great-ape ancestors most likely lived in small groups with low birth rates, which made play with others of nearly the same age … Continue reading

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Why We Should Stop Segregating Children by Age

We adults flatter ourselves when we think that we are the best models, guides, and teachers for children. Children are much more interested in other children than in us. Children are especially interested in, and ready to learn from, those … Continue reading

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A Brief History of Education

When we see that children everywhere are required by law to go to school, that almost all schools are structured in the same way, and that our society goes to a great deal of trouble and expense to provide such … Continue reading

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Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education

Sometimes I find, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me and others feel, I have to speak the truth. We can use all the euphemisms we want, but the literal truth is that schools, as they generally exist in the … Continue reading

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Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

Finnish Lessons is a first-hand, comprehensive account of how Finland built a world-class education system during the past three decades. The author, Pasi Sahlber,  traces the evolution of education policies in Finland and highlights how they differ from the United States … Continue reading

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