I Learn from Children

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After retiring in 1945, Caroline Pratt remained Principal Emeritus of City and Country School. She reflected on her time at C&C, creating an autobiography that outlines the development of the School’s program and guiding principles—a book that remains just as powerful today as when it was first published in 1948. In fact, every C&C educator receives a copy of I Learn from Children when they start at C&C. C&C’s rising XIIIs also read it before their final year. Beyond the School’s walls, the book has seen four English-language editions, has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and continues to be used as a guide to progressive education around the world. Information about the most recent edition, published in honor of C&C’s Centennial in 2014 and now available as an audiobook, can be found below.

The wise, timeless story of a pioneering school,
the ingenious woman who created it,
and the lessons we can learn–from children.

“A clear, lucid presentation of what progressive education
can accomplish.” –New York Times

BUY I Learn from Children on Amazon
LISTEN to I Learn from Children on Audible for free

Click here to watch I Learn From Children: A Blueprint for Groundbreaking Progressive Education, a short video of the panel discussion hosted by C&C in celebration of the release of the 2019 hardcover edition of I Learn From Children.

Click here to watch Projects with Purpose: I Learn from Children Then and Now, the full-length recording of the panel discussion hosted by C&C in celebration of the release of the 2019 hardcover edition of I Learn From Children.

How should schools prepare students for the information age? The successful worker of the future–a creative, independent thinker who works well in teams–would seem to be too self-contradictory to be the deliberate product of a school. 

A century ago, the American educator Caroline Pratt created an innovative school that she hoped would produce such independent thinkers, but she asked herself a different question: “Was it unreasonable to try to fit the school to the child, rather than…fitting the child to the school?”

A strong-willed, small-town schoolteacher who was running a one-room schoolhouse by the time she was seventeen, Pratt came to reject the standard teaching methods of her day, which often featured a long-winded teacher at the front of the room and rows of miserable children, on benches nailed to the floor, stretching to the back.

In this classic 1948 memoir, now in its fourth edition, Pratt recounts how she came to found what is now the dynamic City and Country School in New York City, invent the maple Unit Blocks that have become a staple in classrooms and children’s homes around the globe, and play an important role in reimagining nursey- and primary-school education in ways that will redound in the tumultuously creative age before us.

The reimagined 2019 hardcover edition features new photography from the C&C archives, as well as a beautifully redesigned hardcover and interior pages.

The 2014 edition features an introduction by Ian Frazier, as well as a new chapter, “C&C at 100,” by former principal Kate Turley, and an afterword by Susan F. Semel.

The audiobook is read by Becky Ann Baker, Ian Frazier, and Kate Turley.

Featured music: “School Song” by Larry Goldings.

C&C wishes to thank edition coordinator Barry Munger, and Kiran Paranjpe for initiating the production of the audiobook and for assisting in its development.