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In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness

In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As codirector of the Albany Free School, Chris Mercogliano has had remarkable success in helping a diverse population of youngsters find their way in the world. He regrets, however, that most kids' lives are subject to some form of control from dawn until dusk. Lamenting risk-averse parents, overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, Mercogliano argues that we are robbing our young people of " that precious, irreplaceable period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent discovery, " leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. The " domestication of childhood" squeezes the adventure out of kids' lives and threatens to smother the spark that animates each child with talents, dreams, and inclinations.

There is plenty that those involved with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance. We can address their desperate thirst for knowledge, give them space to learn from their mistakes, and let them explore what their place in the adult world might be.

" Mercogliano is, in effect, a cultural therapist who accurately diagnoses and attentively ponders America's loss of childhood, offering fresh new ideas and creative solutions. Ultimately, he is what all good therapists are: a purveyor of hope. His message resonates with no one more than I, who grew up in the 1950s in rural Nebraska. He will help us care for our most valuable resource: children."

— Mary Pipher, author of Writing to Change the World

" Chris Mercogliano' s provocative meditation on childhood sets up a dialectic among maple-sugaring, swan-diving in forest pools, slingshots, and adventuring on theone hand, and the adult-supervised ' play' of the Little League, Boy Scouts, YMCA, and Playground Movement on the other. Along the way are insights about the functions of solitude and self-organization that lead the reader to conclude: no self-organization means that no self worthy of the name will emerge. A very strong and attractive book."

— John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

" With deep insight, Mercogliano shows how our society is suppressing children' s creative energies. But he also brings a positive message, showing how we can help young people break through conventional restraints and pursue their passions. This is a beautiful, searching, and inspiring book."

— William Crain, Professor of Psychology, The City College of New York, and author of Reclaiming Childhood: Letting Children Be Children in Our Achievement-Oriented Society

Chris Mercogliano has been a teacher at the Albany Free School, a unique, freedom-based, inner-city alternative school, since 1973. He became codirector in 1985. He is the author of Teaching the Restless: One School' s Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed (Beacon / 3257– 3 / $16.00 pb.). Mercogliano lives with his family in Albany, New York.

Review:

"Mercogliano (Teaching the Restless) isn't the first to take the current over-controlling models of parenting and education to task, but the co-director of the Albany Free School ('a noncoercive, democratic inner-city school') is one of the most passionate, and he demonstrates compellingly how institutions, over-structured schedules and 'hyperconcern' are robbing children of their childhood, smothering their creative spark and 'inner wildness.' Exploring the life cycle from birth to adulthood, Mercogliano covers a lot of ground, taking into account history, biology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and literature, as well as plenty of anecdotes. But even in his more intellectual moments, examining the work of leading scholars and experts (including Albert Einstein and Henry David), his message is simple: in order to save our children we must allow them time for solitude and play, and restrain the urge to pathologize (and medicate) their 'disruptive' behavior. He makes a convincing plea for a return to a broader, less judgmental definition of childhood 'normalcy,' a term that used to evoke a 'Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn archetype-brash, willful, naughty, rambunctious, aggressive, and always dirty.' Showing parents and teachers how to curb the 'domesticating' impulses that have turned growing up into 'a carefully scripted medical procedure,' Mercogliano's book, full of insight, enthusiasm and hope, is as readable and practical as it is illuminating." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

As codirector of the Albany Free School, Chris Mercogliano has had remarkable success in helping a diverse population of youngsters find their way in the world. He regrets, however, that most kids' lives are subject to some form of control from dawn until dusk. Lamenting risk-averse parents, overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, Mercogliano argues that we are robbing our young people of "that precious, irreplaceable period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent discovery," leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. The "domestication of childhood" squeezes the adventure out of kids' lives and threatens to smother the spark that animates each child with talents, dreams, and inclinations.

There is plenty that those involved with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance. We can address their desperate thirst for knowledge, give them space to learn from their mistakes, and let them explore what their place in the adult world might be.

Synopsis:

Mercogliano argues that todays children are being robbed of "that precious, irreplaceable period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent discovery," leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. He explains what those involved with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance.

About the Author

Chris Mercogliano has been a teacher at the Albany Free School since 1973 and codirector since 1985. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, and he is the author of Making It Up As We Go Along, and Teaching the Restless: One School's Remarkable No-Ritalin Approach to Helping Children Learn and Succeed. Mercogliano lives in Albany, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807032862
Subtitle:
Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Author:
Mercogliano, Chris
Location:
Boston
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
General education.
Subject:
Children
Subject:
Child rearing
Subject:
Child
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
August 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.74x5.88x.81 in. .85 lbs.

Related Subjects

Education » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Child Psychology

In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 224 pages Beacon Press - English 9780807032862 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Mercogliano (Teaching the Restless) isn't the first to take the current over-controlling models of parenting and education to task, but the co-director of the Albany Free School ('a noncoercive, democratic inner-city school') is one of the most passionate, and he demonstrates compellingly how institutions, over-structured schedules and 'hyperconcern' are robbing children of their childhood, smothering their creative spark and 'inner wildness.' Exploring the life cycle from birth to adulthood, Mercogliano covers a lot of ground, taking into account history, biology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and literature, as well as plenty of anecdotes. But even in his more intellectual moments, examining the work of leading scholars and experts (including Albert Einstein and Henry David), his message is simple: in order to save our children we must allow them time for solitude and play, and restrain the urge to pathologize (and medicate) their 'disruptive' behavior. He makes a convincing plea for a return to a broader, less judgmental definition of childhood 'normalcy,' a term that used to evoke a 'Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn archetype-brash, willful, naughty, rambunctious, aggressive, and always dirty.' Showing parents and teachers how to curb the 'domesticating' impulses that have turned growing up into 'a carefully scripted medical procedure,' Mercogliano's book, full of insight, enthusiasm and hope, is as readable and practical as it is illuminating." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , As codirector of the Albany Free School, Chris Mercogliano has had remarkable success in helping a diverse population of youngsters find their way in the world. He regrets, however, that most kids' lives are subject to some form of control from dawn until dusk. Lamenting risk-averse parents, overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, Mercogliano argues that we are robbing our young people of "that precious, irreplaceable period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent discovery," leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. The "domestication of childhood" squeezes the adventure out of kids' lives and threatens to smother the spark that animates each child with talents, dreams, and inclinations.

There is plenty that those involved with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance. We can address their desperate thirst for knowledge, give them space to learn from their mistakes, and let them explore what their place in the adult world might be.

"Synopsis" by , Mercogliano argues that todays children are being robbed of "that precious, irreplaceable period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent discovery," leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. He explains what those involved with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance.
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