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Coronavirus and the Rediscovery of Childhood
The virus shut down schools and after-school adult-directed activities for kids. So, what happened? Kids suddenly had free time that they didn't have before. They experienced boredom and found ways to overcome it. Mind-building, body-building, resilience-building ways! Because that's what kids do when they have free time. Parents, seeing their initiative and competence, gained new appreciation of their children's capacities for independence, so they granted them new opportunities for such. In this webinar, Lenore Skenazy and Peter Gray, of the Let Grow nonprofit, will describe the results of a survey of how 1,600 families have dealt with children at home during the pandemic. They will also describe how Let Grow has been working with schools and communities to bring childhood back to children and will suggest ways that families and society as a whole might apply the lessons learned from the pandemic in creating a better post-pandemic future.
Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted research on how children learn when they have the opportunity to control their own education. This research includes follow-up studies of people who grew up homeschooled. He is a founding member of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and author of the book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for life.
Lenore Skenazy is co-founder and president of Let Grow, a nonprofit promoting childhood independence. Ever since her column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” created a media firestorm, Lenore has been declaring that our kids are smarter and stronger than our culture gives them credit for. She is the author of Free-Range Kids, the book-turned-movement that garnered her the nickname, “America’s Worst Mom.” At Let Grow, Lenore oversees school programs, an online community, and legislative efforts all promoting the idea that when adults step back, kids step up. She lives in New York City with her husband. Their sons have flown the coop, which is good for “proof of concept” purposes…but she misses them.
Before all this, Skenazy was a reporter and columnist at the New York Daily News and New York Sun. And, bragging here, she also used to write for Mad Magazine. (And Cracked.)