Children Are Born Persons

Children Are Born Persons

Editor’s Note: “Children are born persons” is a phrase that is inseparably associated with Charlotte Mason. It may be surprising, however, to learn that the phrase does not appear in Mason’s printed works until the publication of the Synopsis in 1904 — a full 18 years after the publication of Home Education. She then offered her first dedicated treatment of the concept in an article in The Parents’ Review in 1911, well after the completion of the five-volume Home Education Series. The article was so important that it was reprinted on multiple occasions as a standalone booklet under the title Concerning Children as Persons. Mason explained why in a letter to Henrietta Franklin:

About my paper, by all means print it as a pamphlet a good deal if [sic] it has been said before, however — but I wanted to bring it under the idea of a “Reason”[1]

Thus we understand that in “Children are born persons,” Mason collected a number of previously expressed concepts under a single unifying idea. This article is the key to understanding Charlotte Mason’s first principle. Its significance was underscored in our time by Dr. Benjamin Bernier:

I believe it is time for Mason’s philosophy to enter the realm of philosophical discussion, so that some of her writings, like her pamphlet Concerning Children as Persons, may become the common property of all Christian educators and a required reading for any course of instruction on the subject of alternative educational theory, since so many parents and teachers witness to the stimulating results of an encounter with Mason’s thought.[2]

To make it even easier for this document to become the “common property of all Christian educators,” we share it with you today in audio form.

Click here to read the full text of this episode.


[1] Wallet of copies (transcripts) of letters from Charlotte Mason, p. 16.

[2] Education for the Kingdom, p. 200.

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