Synopses & Reviews
A passionate essay by a maverick educator on the need to protect the unique spark--the inner wildness--that animates every child
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. 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 every child. Mercogliano tells us how to protect children's exuberance, address their desperate thirst for knowledge, and give them space to explore what their place in the adult world might be.
Mercogliano is, in effect, a cultural therapist . . . a purveyor of hope.
--Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia
With deep insight, Mercogliano shows . . . how we can help young people break through conventional restraints and pursue their passions. This is a beautiful, searching, and inspiring book.
--William Crain, author of Reclaiming Childhood
A very strong and attractive book.
--John Taylor Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down
Mercogliano's book, full of insight, enthusiasm and hope, is as readable and practical as it is illuminating.
The pressures of modern life are increasingly squeezing the adventure, the wonder, the physicality-the juice -out of children's lives. Virtually every arena of kids' experience is now subject to some form of outside control, and this is a serious threat to the unique spark that animates every child. Lamenting risk-averse parents, overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, this book is a clear and compelling plea to save childhood.
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.