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Unschool from birth!

Rewilding with George Monbiot
26th November 2014
Back on track
23rd December 2014

Practices around childbirth have been changing quite rapidly, becoming more human and less clinical. NICE, not an organisation I have much time for, produced guidance that it was better to give birth in a centre led my midwives than in a hospital.

Apparently, there is now advice about the precious hour immediately after the birth, about immediate skin contact between mother and baby and about establishing the first feed. Best practice is to allow the (literally) newborn to explore for the nipple, and for neither mother nor nurse to intervene to help. This is held to be an important stage and step and learning for both infant and mother.

There is quite a literature, and I would focus particularly on Joseph Chilton Pearce,, talking about development steps that the infant, child and young person need to be able to take for themselves. The education industry has a series of steps that build on each other, but they are steps that children are frogmarched through so as to be more “advanced”. This other literature talks about development steps that may become crucial years later, when there is little or no hope of patching things in that needed to happen earlier.

Chilton Pearce’s message is that children and even infants need to do things for themselves if the crucial mental connections are to be forged and maintained. Externally motivated learning and “guidance” firstly doesn’t work and secondly risks cutting across the inbuilt development agenda, causing confusion and distress.

The crucial insight is that the developing infant and child is ultimately the best guide to what needs to happen next. If we think, as almost everyone does, that we know better, then our chances of losing the plot are close to 100%. Wild Routes aims to give scope to children and young people and an environment where adults can step away from knowing better.

Aidan Ward
Aidan Ward
Aidan Ward is a freelance consultant, social entrepreneur and educator. He is a great cook and baker, a kitchen gardener and enthusiast for wild food. His key interest is in how childhood development happens when it is nurtured in the right environment.

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