”Has Homer Lane's thesis space to be accommodated in the 21st century?

When suggesting in his Talks to Parents and Teachers (1928) that adults should withdraw from their pedestals of authority and allow children to sort out their own difficulties in an environment of encouragement and freedom, Homer Lane observed, “Freedom cannot be given. It is taken by children and demands the privilege of conscious wrong-doing.” Lane believed that adults should nurture children’s instinct to play and allow children the time and space to run wild and free with their friends. He thought that we should respect the nature of childhood play and its unconscious, yet fundamental purpose, that is, to help children grow healthily. My talk is a personal consideration of how far Lane's idea could be applicable for the nurture of children today."




Charles Sharpe trained as a teacher in at Trent Park College in Middlesex in mid-1960s. During his career he taught in prep schools, public schools and in residential schools for children and young people who were in the public care. It was while he was involved in the latter at Sparrows Herne Observation and Assessment Centre in Hertfordshire - where he was influenced by the thought and kindness of Martin Wigg - that he came to feel that there should be no delineation between care and education.

In the early 80s he was seconded to the course in Residential Care and Education at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne led by another fruitful influence on his feelings and thinking, Haydn Davies Jones. After this Charles worked in residential care in a variety of roles and since the mid-1990s he has been a consultant to agencies responsible for residential child care resources in the public, voluntary and private sectors. He has taught about child development and about therapeutic approaches to residential child care, to students in work-based, FE, and HE settings. During the 1990s Charles was at one time the only male FEFC inspector for child care and child development in England.

During the 1990s at the University of Sheffield he also began the training that led towards his becoming a psychodynamic psychotherapist. He completed the clinical training for this at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation.
Each week, Charles runs his psychotherapy practice in Totnes from Monday to Wednesday and carries out his child care consultancy on Thursday and Friday. At other times he writes and is one of the editors of the goodenoughcaringJournal an online publication which he founded in 2006.

Charles came to know of Homer Lane during his teacher training when his psychology lecturer, David Lane (no relation to the CCHN Chair) did not seem much interested in more formal academic educational psychology - touching only briefly on the likes of Jean Piaget - but was much keener for his students to consider Freud's psychodynamic psychology and work of the educators like Homer Lane and A.S. Neill who were influenced by him.

Add comment

Security code