Peter Gray’s 6 Conditions for Self-Directed Learning: Education and Schooling #15

What do kids need to thrive and learn all they need for adult life? Let’s ask Peter Gray!

In this two-minute animated summary of a lecture on the value of play, educational researcher Peter Gray gives six fundamentals for self-directed learning.

He’s a Research Professor of Psychology at Boston College, specialising in evolutionary perspectives on psychology. He has done a lot of work on the importance of play in the development of children, and it’s fascinating.

Here are his six conditions¬†that optimise children’s ability to educate themselves:

  1. Education is the child’s responsibility
  2. Unlimited opportunity to play
  3. Opportunity to play with the tools of the culture (he makes a great point about kids and computers)
  4. Access to a variety of caring adults that are helpers not judges
  5. Free mixing among children of different ages
  6. Immersion in a stable, moral, democratic, community



If you liked this summary, taken from an event in Chicago, you can watch Peter Gray’s¬†full seventeen-minute talk, too, called¬†‘Mother Nature‚Äôs Pedagogy: Insights from Evolutionary Psychology’:



You might also be interested in Peter Gray’s TED Talk on how children are able to play¬†less and less these days. He maps a possible connection with increasing rates of mental health troubles in children and young people:


See more from Peter Gray on his website, and you might also like to check out his book, Free to Learn.

This is part of an occasional, varied series on education and schooling. You can see the series list here.

In particular, you may want to check out two posts on unschooling:

This is Unschooling

Unschooling, Schooling and Socialisation

Here’s another warm invitation to check out the Sacraparental Facebook page regularly. There are extra links and resources there everyday.

Make sure you click through from your News Feed to see the real page every so often, too, so Facebook knows you actually read the updates (if, you know, you do!) Ditto with liking and commenting ‚Äď Facebook keeps track of it all to determine how useful the Sacraparental stuff is to you and whether it should show them in your News Feed. Click ‚Äėlike‚Äô on the updates if you do!

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