School & Community

Let Grow Programs

Give students the freedom to do things on their own and they change forever.

Let Grow’s school and community programs give young people a bracing dose of the rocket fuel known as independence.

Trusted with the chance to start doing some things on their own — including plain old playing — kids explore the world, discover new interests, and problem-solve as they go.

With each new navigation, students grow in curiosity and confidence, ready to reach their full potential in the classroom, and beyond.

Let Grow’s school programs are designed to unlock young people’s brilliance and resilience. Read about the programs for K-8 students in this free download of the chapter for educators in the brand new edition of Free-Range Kids!

Collage of photos showing children being independent

Our student independence programs make kids more capable, confident and curious. Teachers notice (as do parents).

Students trusted to try something new on their own build confidence, resilience, and problem-solving skills. Our free, ready-to-implement materials also help kids discover new interests and info.

Social-emotional skills gained through unstructured play and experiential learning outside the classroom have positive effects on academic success and school climate.

Our annual “Think for Yourself” high school essay contest gets students to consider how much they learn when they open themselves to new ideas and viewpoints.

Let Grow is a perfect fit for all children, allowing every child and every family in our community to grow and develop into the very best version of themselves.




The Let Grow Project

Elementary and middle school students get the surprising homework assignment: “Go home and do something new, on your own — with your parent’s permission. Walk the dog. Make a meal. Run an errand…” When they do, everyone is transformed: The parents see their child as competent, blossoming – and so do the kids themselves. Success breeds success. The Project breaks the ice of anxiety in both generations. Our free Project materials include a teacher guide, parent letter, and 100+ ideas to choose from.


Let Grow Play Club

Schools stay open before or after classes for mixed-age, device-free, loose-parts free play. Adults supervise, but they don’t organize the games or solve the spats. That way the kids learn the age-old social and emotional skills (creativity, maturity, teamwork, empathy) they need right now and on up through adulthood. Our implementation guide for elementary school or middle school aged students is free, so all you need is a gym, playground or open space — and some kids of any age or ability.

Middle & High School

Think for Yourself Essay Contest

With lively prompts like, ‘Who would you choose to censor what you read?” and, “Write a thank you letter to a jerk you learned something from,” this annual high school essay contest gets students thinking about the importance of open-mindedness and free speech in their everyday lives. To date we have awarded over $25,000 in college scholarships. Winning essays have run in USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle, EdWeek and beyond.

After my students participated in Let Grow’s initiatives, I saw a dramatic increase in their confidence level — and a dramatic decrease in their anxiety.


Get Involved

The movement to promote childhood independence needs you. Join us to access free educational resources and help spread awareness. We also hope you’ll consider donating to keep our mission moving forward!