The Happy Child

by Steven Harrison (Author)
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The author of The Shimmering World proposes allowing children to follow their own educational path, thus enabling their curiosity to fuel their learning.
In this thought-provoking new book, bestselling author Steven Harrison ventures far outside the box of traditional thinking about education. His radical proposal? Children naturally want to learn, he asserts, so let them direct their own education in democratic learning communities where they can interact seamlessly with their neighborhoods, their towns, and the world at large. Most learning systems apply external motivation through grades, rankings, teacher direction, and approval. The Happy Child suggests that a self-motivated child who is interdependent within a community can develop the full human potential to live a creative and fulfilling life. Harrison focuses on the integration of the whole child, the learning environment, and the non-coercive spirit of curiosity-driven education.
Part social-critic, part humanistic visionary, Harrison not only focuses on a reorientation of education, but the possibility of rethinking our families, communities and workplaces, and ultimately what gives our children, and all of us, real happiness. Harrison adds his voice to those of A. S. Neil, John Holt, and John Gatto, all who believe that contemporary schools can never be reformed sufficiently, but must be abandoned entirely for something new and vital to emerge.
Praise for The Happy Child
“A clarion call for our culture to wise up and re-think what education—and the soul of a child—are really all about. Steven Harrison offers us something sorely lacking in today’s educational policy: a vision of true human potential and a practical philosophy for attaining it. Read this book and envision possibility.” —Jane M. Healy, Ph, author of Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds
“Harrison's hard-biting social critique of the plight children and education are in should wake us up to our atrocious treatment of our young, that we might actually address their critical needs rather than simply ignoring them as usual.” —Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
“Such a nobly simple idea, that the true purpose of education should be happiness, and so clearly reasoned.” —Chris Mercogliano, author of Making It Up As We Go Along

Publication date
August 04, 2021
Page count
Paper ISBN