Freedom to Learn

Dr. Peter Gray, professor, research psychologist and author will address the Walden Forum on the “Freedom to Learn”.

Dr. Gray has long contended that children come into the world exquisitely designed to educate themselves through their self-directed play and exploration. In his talk, he will discuss the evidence that leads him to this conclusion, including research in hunter-gather societies as well as research with children in our contemporary society. He will argue that certain environmental conditions must be present for children’s natural playfulness and curiosity to serve their educative functions optimally, and that these conditions are increasingly absent in our contemporary society. He will also present evidence that children in our society today have far less opportunity to play freely, with other children, than did children in decades past and that this is a major cause of the dramatic rise in childhood anxiety and depression.

Dr. Gray has also written about the lifelong value of play for adults and about the role of play in promoting peaceful, egalitarian, cooperative ways of life, and he will gladly respond to questions about these issues during the discussion.   This forum on play is sponsored by The Discovery Museums in Acton, whose mission is to promote play as crucial to childhood development.