Keith's Reviews > In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness

In Defense of Childhood by Chris Mercogliano
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's review
Aug 11, 10

bookshelves: parenting, non-fiction
Read in May, 2010

I picked this up at our local library while browsing the shelves and found it to be a very interesting read. I have a great appreciation for our librarians now that I have started visiting there more often because this is not the first time I've found something really good there that I would never have known about if not for my visits there.

The premise of the book is that modern childhood is overscheduled and overprotective and that children nowadays do not have enough freedom to explore the world around them and discover their place in it. Schools are too focused on test scores and following cookie cutter standards rather than unlocking a child's individual potential. Mercogliano is the co-director of a school in New York where he does things very differently from a typical school and relates several anecdotes of his former students as he discusses his views.

While I think I agree with most of what he says here, it's difficult to know how to approach the education and upbringing of my own children in light of it. It's always a gamble, going against what everyone else is doing, and in this case you're gambling with the lives of your children, which is about the highest stakes you can ever imagine yourself playing for. I'm not yet sure what I'm going to do with the things I've read here, but they have certainly gotten me thinking.
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