Tom Hobson's book is a collection of short essays about teaching and learning from preschoolers, by turns hilarious, thought-provoking and moving.
Hobson is known as one of the world’s leading practitioners of “democratic play-based” education. “Children are born to learn, and self-directed play is how it is meant to happen,” says Hobson. “Traditional education is all about adults testing children, dictating what, when, and how they should learn, and that’s why so many kids find school boring. A play-based education is one in which children educate themselves by asking and answering their own questions. This is how human beings are designed to learn.”
Hobson’s approach, which is supported by decades of research and practical applications, starts by taking children’s play seriously. “In the Victorian era, the leading theory for the existence of play was that it was simply a way to burn off excess energy, and that idea is still prevalent,” says Hobson, “but researchers like (Jean) Piaget, (Lev) Vygotsky, (Maria) Montessori, and, of course, John Dewey, began to dig deeper, finding that a child who is encouraged to learn through play is not only happier, but better able to handle the modern world than one who is force-marched through an adult dictated curriculum.”
Hobson, a teacher at the Woodland Park Cooperative School in Seattle, Washington, has been writing about early childhood education, teaching, and parenting since 2009, posting on his blog daily. He is a sought-after public speaker, having traveled the globe from the US and Canada to Australia, New Zealand, China, and Europe. He hopes that his book will bring his message to a wider audience.
The Woodland Park Cooperative School, where Hobson has taught of the past 15 years, is known for its “junkyard playground,” enthusiastic parent participation, and a state-of-the-art urban farming program. Children as young as two are allowed to handle tools at the work bench, get as messy as they want, handle their own conflicts, and pursue their own interests in the way and at the pace they choose for themselves. According to Hobson, “The kids I teach are learning the way humans are meant to learn: taking risks, falling down, making their own choices, getting dirty, agreeing to their own rules, and engaging in real life experiences like growing food and dealing with conflict. All the research shows that success in life — and by that I mean living a personally satisfying life as opposed to an economically successful one — comes from being motivated, working well with others, and being sociable. That’s what a democratic play-based education, and this book, is all about.”
– Media Release, Peanut Butter Publishing –
For more information about Tom and the work he does (the inspiration for this amazing first book) visit his blog
Author: Tom Hobson
Easy to read book. Teacher Tom has a way of writing that makes you think and reflect on your own practices with children and their families.
He most certainly does Rhonda! Always food for thought in Tom's work :)
Great resource and very prompt and efficient service
Thanks so much for the review Sam!