Gever Tulley has made it his mission to re-introduce the world to children: the real world as revealed through unscripted, hands-on, meaningful learning experiences. He says, “Children today are increasingly treated like exotic animals: kept in special cages and fed a diet of pre-digested ideas, lest they skin a knee or have an original thought – but there is great value in the minor scrape or bruise and the lessons that they teach.” So he celebrates the plans that go awry, the spectacular failures, the magnificent successes, the unexpected discoveries, and the ideas that are just so big that they must be tried. He appreciates the empty carton, the empty lot next door, the broken clock that begs to be dismantled, and the tree with branches spaced perfectly for climbing. He treasures the really good stick and the lovely bit of string. He is thankful for duct tape, but loves the well-placed screw.
As a teen, Gever’s famous babysitting rule was: “If you’re going to play with fire, we have to go outside.” Mostly self-taught, he was once a computer scientist but is more widely known for founding Tinkering School, his book Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do), and Beware Dangerism! (a TED single), and Brightworks, a new K-12 school he is starting in San Francisco.