Liberating children from the tyranny of institutional ideology and classroom indoctrination should begin early. The “forest school movement” and the “forest kindergarten movement” are experiencing growth in Europe, the Anglosphere, and in free East Asia.
In a “forest kindergarten,” like the one in the short video above, children spend most of the day in the wilderness, regardless of weather. Toys are replaced by the imaginative use of sticks, rocks and leaves. There are more than 1,500 of these in Germany. __ NYT
Kindergartens, “child gardens,” began to sprout up in Germany and Scandinavia around the turn of the 20th century, near 1900. The two world wars of the first half of the 20th century stalled the European development of this healthy phenomenon.
The concept of “forest schools” was further developed in Wisconsin in the 1920s, in Scandinavia and Germany in the 1950s, in the UK in the 1990s, and in Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Young and very young children appreciate the wild elements of play that are incorporated into the forest school. Boys are more suited for the wild than for the classroom, at least in their first dozen or so years of life.
Improved confidence, social skills, communication, motivation, an concentration
Improved physical stamina, fine and gross motor skills 
Positive identity formation for individuals and communities 
Environmentally sustainable behaviours and ecological literacy 
Increased knowledge of environment, increased frequency of visiting nature within families 
Healthy and safe risk-taking 
Improved creativity and resilience;
Improved academic achievement and self-regulation;
Reduced stress and increased patience, self-discipline, capacity for attention, and recovery from mental fatigue 
Improved higher level cognitive skills 
In forest schools, play is largely self-initiated and self-regulated. Most rules of play are negotiated on the fly between children and their playmates, and adult supervision is limited.
Forest Schools and the Dangerous Child
Anything that can be taught in a classroom can be better taught in a forest, given adequate preparation. But the immediacy of the outdoors provides resilience-breeding learning experiences that stay with the child far longer than the didactic pedagogy of the classroom.
The Dangerous Child curricula is best taught in the out of doors. Most of the early training should take place in the rural setting — whether in a forest, on a mountain, in a desert, on a farm, or on a waterway, is a matter of choice, discretion, need, and opportunity.
As the child grows and develops competence-based confidence and resilience in the outdoors, he will be better able to develop expertise in more technological and urban settings. But no child ever outgrows the out of doors. By growing up in the wild, a more realistic concept of nature evolves within the child than what most children receive in a classroom indoctrination.
Forest School vs. Montessori and Waldorf
For parents who are unable to lead their own children through the lessons of the outdoors during the formative years, the expanded choices provided by forest schools, Montessori, and Waldorf etc., allow for a somewhat less guilty “farming out” of the young child to third parties than would otherwise be possible.
Each local kindertarten and school facility should be thoroughly vetted before trusting one’s child to their tender mercies.
Left to society, no children would ever become uniquely and optimally Dangerous, as they were meant to be. Society can never educate and raise a Dangerous Child. Only the Dangerous Child can achieve that, with the help of wise parents and coaches.
The education provided by society operates in two directions at once. It suppresses every nonconformist tendency through penalties of withdrawal of support and simultaneously imbues the individual with values that force him to overcome and discard spontaneous desires. These conditions force the majority of adults today to live behind a mask, a mask of personality that the individual tries to present to others and to himself. Every aspiration and spontaneous desire is subjected to stringent internal criticism lest they reveal the individual’s organic nature. Such aspirations and desires arouse anxiety and remorse and the individual seeks to suppress the urge to realize them. The only compensation that makes life durable despite these sacrifices is the satisfaction derived from society’s recognition of the individual who achieves its definition of success. The need for constant support by one’s fellows is so great that most people spend the larger part of their lives fortifying their masks. Repeated success is essential to encourage the individual to persist in this masquerade. __ M. Feldenkrais p12 in “Awareness Through Movement”
Moshe Feldenkrais was an engineer and former student of physicist Marie Curie, at the University of Paris in the 1930s. He trained in judo and became a judo instructor to co-workers at the Radium Institute. On the eve of WWII, he fled to London with a quantity of heavy water and “a sheaf of research material” on nuclear fission from the Institute in Paris.
Working on the slippery deck of a submarine, he aggravated a childhood knee injury to the point that he was unable to practise his judo. During this period of physical convalescence, Feldenkrais developed a unique method of self-healing of soft tissue injury, now called “The Feldenkrais Method.” In this method of healing, the person himself takes over the training, completely re-learning what it means to perform a movement, or integrated suite of movements.
Over the years he has treated thousands of people, from statesmen (Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion) to violin virtuosos (Yehudi Menuhin), with his unique method of movement that—he claims and his disciples devoutly believe—results in a kind of heightened self-awareness and improved physical coordination. __ People Magazine Feature on Feldenkrais
If there is a secret to the success of the Feldenkrais method of brain and body rehab, it is the combination of confidence of ultimate success with the infinitely incremental approach to recovering lost body/brain functions. Baby steps are encouraged and celebrated — then built upon. The reality of this method is far more complex than any short summary, but re-building and re-shaping of both brain and body seem to be taking place for these self-trainers. See Feldenkrais’ book “Awareness Through Movement” for more details. Also visit the webpage Feldenkrais.com for more information.
Dangerous Children Learn Skilled Movement by Similar Methods
For most children, learning to move occurs spontaneously with “growing up.” But that does not mean that the child has developed anything close to “optimal movement” for his body and brain. A playful training in folk dancing helps to expand the child’s repertoire of movements, but to become a truly Dangerous Child one should tuck away many clever tricks of motion and thinking into one’s portfolio.
That is where parents and coaches of Dangerous Children can learn from methods such as that of Feldenkrais. Although these children are not convalescing from injured brains and bodies, they are learning to move in ways which are unlikely to come naturally without a significant amount of self-training and mental control. If the method is to achieve the most it can for each unique child, the training (self-training) should begin early, as a type of play.
We have said this before, but it cannot be repeated too often: For young children, play is an indispensable tool for teaching and learning. For very young children to learn self-training, a playful approach is crucial.
Raising a Dangerous Child is Never Easy
If a parent or coach does the job right in the early years, the Dangerous Child’s brain will adapt to self-training and self-teaching as natural functions of daily life. By the time the child is teaching himself music, languages, creative approaches to story and art, science and maths, and methods of physical dance and self defense, the self-training and self-teaching approach will feel like the only comfortable approach to intensive learning, once an idea has been introduced.
Keeping the child balanced and making sure that opportunities are not needlessly neglected, is difficult. It is natural for the child to dive into an absorbing area of interest, to the exclusion of all else. But that is what parents and coaches are there to guard against. Let the child explore and dive deeply, but always bring him back to what is needful, if he does not return on his own.
Dangerous Child Training is Not Mysterious
There is nothing mysterious about raising a Dangerous Child. If done right from the early days, these children unfold mostly on their own. But the process is detailed and often tedious, and if the parent or coach does not tend to his or her own mental and physical well-being — and maintain a healthy sense of humour and play — turbulence may set in.
The end result of Dangerous Child training — just like the end result of pregnancy and childbirth — can seem miraculous.
Fine Detail Learning is Front-End Learning
You could say that this type of learning has a steep learning curve, or is heavily loaded at the front end of the process. It has high capital costs up-front in terms of time, personal energy, and careful attention. But once the habits are learned to instinctive levels, your child will never be “just one in the crowd.”
Once the habits of precision learning are fine-honed and instinctive, the Dangerous Child becomes a force of nature into the future.
The Dangerous Child Method is best known for its emphasis on early financial independence and the development of self-discipline along with martial skills. But the mental training of the Dangerous Child should not be overlooked.
In fact, the most Dangerous thing about the Dangerous Child is his mind. Very early in his training the Dangerous Child becomes self-taught and soon thereafter becomes self-guided. This leads to an independence of thought and attitude that is rare in today’s pampered/sheltered children and youth. Just as importantly, Dangerous Children are given mind-tools that make them nearly impervious to the atmosphere of mass-brainwashing that predominates at many schools and across the popular media.
Among the mind-tools provided to Dangerous Children are constructive values, fact-based logical skills, practical skills of intuitive creativity, powerful tools of self-calming and self-centering, and an uncanny ability to focus on the tasks and matters at hand.
Any parents who select Dangerous Child Training for their children, will necessarily embody the constructive values which young children’s minds require as a foundation. Likewise, a parent would never have discovered the Dangerous Child Method unless their logic of thinking was powerful enough to see through the mainstream smokescreens.
Skills training for the building of intuition and creativity, of self-centering, and of the development of a laser-sharp focus of attention, are integral to Dangerous Child training. Toward that goal, both meditation and hypnosis are important ingredients of DC training, along with Lateral Thinking and other forms of intuition training.
Meditation and Hypnosis are Opposite Sides of the Mind Coin
Meditation is a type of “floodlight,” while hypnosis is more of a “spotlight.” The mind in meditation can be open to new ideas on many levels, while a mind in hypnotic trance is more likely to be focused and highly selective in what it allows to reach conscious levels.
Dangerous Children are trained to utilise tools of both “mind expansion” and “focused selectivity of awareness,” since a mastery of each tool can prove life saving in many situations.
But there is a dark side to hypnosis. And if Dangerous Children are not prepared to take the reins of their own “trance inductions,” they — along with the rest of their age cohorts — would be almost powerless to resist the mainstream indoctrination that envelops virtually every mind that comes down the conveyor belt.
The best defences against the dysfunctional trances and habitual mind traps of the mainstream, are typically religious in nature. But religion itself is to a large degree just another form of group entrancement. It is simply a powerful enough entrancement to allow children to resist other, more destructive forms of entrancement, such as what one finds in public schools and in popular entertainments.
In DC training, religion is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Such choices are left up to the parents, although Dangerous Children generally find ways to make their own ways quite early in life.
Instead of religion, DC training promotes mindfulness (and other) meditation, practical hypnosis self-mastery, an irreverent practical creativity, and a merciless logic that leaves no opinion or point of view unscathed. In addition, neurofeedback is often utilised for specific purposes where actual brain modification is required, when parents and their DC wish to avoid or minimise pharmaceuticals.
Popular Entertainments are Full of Violence and Cruelty
Television and movies for children — even very young children — are full of cruel and violent images. These images are absorbed into young minds, and treated with as much gravity — or more — than most of the things that parents try to teach them. The discrepancy between the values and life lessons that parents would like their children to learn — and the lessons they actually learn — grow greater with each passing year.
Today’s children tend to be pampered and overindulged, while at the same time they are sheltered from meaningful responsibility or exposure to real life lessons which might save them a life’s load of grief in later years. To top it off, they are indoctrinated into the most vile forms of groupthink in schools and by their entertainments.
Once the child’s mind has been habituated to gratuitous nonsense and the practise of finding more and more ways to waste time and money, a continual battle will be fought inside the cranium between the forces of lazy habit and the few forces for constructive accomplishment that may have somehow wormed their way into the young child’s mind.
Dangerous Children Have Their Work Cut Out for Them
Dangerous Children will not have a hundred or a thousand votes in order to compensate for the decline of the age cohorts. Democracy has fallen on hard times — if the age distribution of recent voting is any judge — and a government dominated by decadent groupthink is likely to be more of a burden, hindrance, and nuisance than ever before.
DCs will need to be fiercely independent, and capable of succeeding largely on their own and in small groups. They are likely to represent islands of competence in a sea of cultural decline. Such independence will require strong minds — preferably minds well-fortified with the best tools of self-mastery, self-discipline, and self-teaching that can be devised.
11 Micah gets going at 06:30, when most classmates are still sleeping off a late night of video games and social media.
Micah Amezquita is not like most sixth graders.
The 11-year-old recently started his own trash-can-toting business to make money so that he can start saving for college and become an aeronautical engineer.
His fledgling business, Curb Cans, provides the service of taking garbage and recycling bins to the curb and back again on trash day. Every Tuesday morning, Amezquita heads out in his neighborhood between 6:30 and 8 to take care of business before school.
Like most small businesses, Micah’s operation started slowly, and is building gradually. He is hard-working and positive, and is not afraid to set goals and follow through on them. These are qualities that most successful businessmen share.
Traits that Parents Should Encourage
1. Early Maturation — Early maturation puts people in the position to socialize with older, more established people. From mentorship to business dealings, a young mature person has more potential of being welcomed by successful people, resulting in exposure to real world dilemmas and an aspirational lifestyle early on.
2. Perseverance — Perseverance. Persistence. Tenacity. Whatever word you want to use, this trait is the most important to have if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter who you are or what company you started, I can guarantee that you’re going to face some low points and have days when you feel alone. When those days come, it’s the determination to reach a high point again that will get you to achieve your goals.
3. The Ability to Put Things in Perspective — Childhood adversity helps entrepreneurs keep things in perspective. When you think about it, experiencing real-life hardship makes all the other problems in life seem minute in comparison. Well, when running a startup you always need to keep things in perspective. From missing your target sales numbers to having key employees leave, problems will always arise and require you to put them in perspective not only for yourself, but your team as well.
4. Having Self Control — Playing off the ability to put things in perspective, childhood adversity most likely drummed up some extreme internal emotions that may never be provoked again. Although too much childhood adversity has correlation to opposite traits of these, most of the entrepreneurs that I know who faced something early on are able to express an incredible level of self-control. Making sacrifices, having difficult conversations, and locking in on your goal are all aspects that I’ve seen exemplified by successful entrepreneurs first hand. Source
Successful Small Business Ideas Vary With Time and Place
For many years, children could make extra money with a newspaper route, babysitting, a lemonade or cupcake stand, or other such modest and traditional endeavours. Times have changed, governments are more intrusive, and successful childhood entrepreneurs need to learn to work around the obstacles and red tape.
But sometimes it helps to look back at the money-making niches that earlier generations utilised:
To earn money, people:
1. Caught and sold fish, clams, and crabs
2. Made homemade fudge and sold it
3. Sold newspapers on the corner. Kids earned a little extra if they were promoted to “Corner Captain”, a sort of Great Depression multi-level marketing program where a kid brought in other kids to sell papers and earned a bit extra himself.
4. Started a lunch truck/wagon
5. Grew, picked, and sold berries
6. Road work
7. Shoveled snow on roads
8. Multiple part-time jobs, including housecleaning
9. Chopped wood or harvested driftwood
10. Made and sold handwoven baskets
11. Mowed lawns and other kinds of yard work
12. Door to door sales of things like shoes or sewing notions
13. Made deliveries for stores
14. Made and sold quilts
15. Sold homemade baked goods, like bread or pies
16. Sold eggs for 25 cents a dozen
18. Rented out rooms
19. Mended or altered clothes
20. Washed windows
21. Would purchase produce and re-sell door-to-door
22. Sold apples
23. Loaded coal
24. Piecework sewing
25. Sold homegrown produce
In every case it was a simple matter of looking around to see what people needed, what they wanted, what made them feel good about themselves and about life.
If people could coax money out of cash-strapped people in a depression, teaching a child to start and run a business in today’s perpetual Obama recession should be a snap!
Kids Need to Build Skills and Competencies to be Successful Child Entrepreneurs
Learning the skills of business is something that takes place both before and after the business is underway. All kinds of practical skills should be learned and mastered before the child even begins to sort through business ideas. Budgeting and money management come before starting a business. But the more practical skills a child instinctively knows, the more versatile his entrepreneurial ventures can be.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. Groups and organisations exist for teaching practical and useful skills to children:
Clothing & Textile Science – Learn basic sewing skills, personalize clothing, make clothing from patterns and more. Projects range from first-time beginners to advanced clothing design and construction masters.
Cooking Projects – Beginner to Advanced levels. Learn about cooking, nutrition, food safety information and get creative with recipes of all kinds, including baking breads, meal planning and grilling.
Gardening & Plant Science – Learn how to grow your own vegetables and preserve your own food through canning and freezing methods.
The Natural World – Learn how to explore the outdoors by learning about plants, trees and insects that live in the woods, streams and fields. Learn trapping, fishing and beekeeping.
Shooting Sports – Learn safe use of guns and basic archery.
Mechanics – Learn about small engines, tractors and machinery operations.
Woodworking – Learn how to use various woodworking tools along with basic tools to build wood projects.
Here is useful list of helpful life skills for kids from Survival Mom:
create a shopping list
find the best deals
use a microwave
read nutrition labels and know what’s good and what’s not
prepare, serve and store food to avoid spoilage
cook a well-balanced meal
know which kitchen tools and equipment to use for which tasks
make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it
use an ATM
open, use and balance a checking account
apply for a credit card and use it responsibly
save up to buy a desired item
set aside money for charity
keep track of important papers
how to use a debit card
pay monthly bills, including utilities
complete simple repairs when needed
sew on a button
mend a seam
fold and put away clothing
follow fabric-care labels
do laundry, including treating simple stains
wash and dry items by hand
pack a suitcase
able to clean the house
find the circuit breaker and use it
locate and use water and furnace shutoffs
use a fire extinguisher
perform basic first aid
fix a running toilet
do laundry, including treating simple stains
use all household appliances, like loading the dishwasher the right way
basic auto maintenance
check tire pressure
check oil level and add oil if needed
check washer fluid and add more if necessary
arrange routine maintenance
add air to tires
produce documents if stopped by police
know what to look for in buying their first car
Other Life Skills
change a mailing address
register to vote
how to vote
who to call and what to do in emergency situations
basic first aid or CPR
how to apply for a job
how to select proper clothing for an interview
what to look for in a first apartment
who to contact to turn on utilities
where to have a document notarized
how to use public transportation
A large number of quasi-functioning adults have not mastered these skills. And many others may be able to do the tasks, but cannot be bothered for the most part. This natural ignorance or laziness on the part of much of the population opens up huge niches for child entrepreneurs to meet unmet needs and desires.
The lists above barely scrape the surface, but parents can begin to get the idea. Humans have an infinite number of unmet needs and wishes. The person who can supply those things economically in a timely fashion is apt to get more business than they can handle. At that point, the child entrepreneur will learn to delegate, utilise independent contractors, or learn to deal with “employees.”
Sure, parents and child-entrepreneurs will need to learn to jump any governmental hoops that they cannot avoid altogether. But there is no need to dump the bodies of over-zealous government functionaries in abandoned coal mines in order to co-exist with absurd government rules and regulations. A bit of forethought and cooperation between child entrepreneurs, their parents, and sympathetic businesspersons should provide the working space needed to survive in an age of government over-reach.
Dangerous Children Master at Least 3 Ways to Support Themselves Financially by Age 18
Most of the niche business ideas mentioned above will not provide reliable and consistent financial support for an independent adult over time. But they will provide invaluable experience in budgeting, handling money, devising business plans, dealing with people, and developing resilience in business.
At the same time as they are building their business skills-experiences-reputations, they are also learning needed academic lessons, developing Dangerous Skills and Competencies, acquiring helpful credentials, developing emotional resilience, and making a range of plans on different time scales for their futures.
After age 18 Dangerous Children will use their financial independence to build their base of operations, to further their education in the professions and other highly skilled sectors, to travel and learn new cultures – languages – ways of life, to raise families and new generations of Dangerous Children, to liaise with other Dangerous Children to form Dangerous Communities, and to otherwise work toward an abundant and expansive human future.
We are living in an age of impractical and perpetually incompetent adolescents of all ages. Children typically go through school and graduate from high school or college with no practical skills or experiences. Whatever parents may be thinking when they send their children off to be abused by institutions, the results are turning out very badly.
Here at the Dangerous Child Institute, we are merely seeking to provide an alternative approach to education and child-raising that provides children and youth with a lifetime confidence based upon stacked competencies — beginning very early in childhood. Most people are not ready for us. All the more reason to get started.
Resilience is the virtue that enables people to move through hardship and become better. No one escapes pain, fear, and suffering. Yet from pain can come wisdom, from fear can come courage, from suffering can come strength — if we have the virtue of resilience.
… To master a skill, to build an enterprise, to pursue any worthy endeavour — simply to live a good life — requires that we confront pain, hardship, and fear. What is the difference between those who are defeated by hardship and those who are sharpened by it? Between those who are broken by pain and those who are made wiser by it?
To move through pain to wisdom, through fear to courage, through suffering to strength, requires resilience.
__ Eric Greitens
Greitens’ book is one of the sourcebooks for the course, “The Psychology of the Dangerous Child,” and is mandatory reading for prospective parents of Dangerous Children, and for Dangerous Children in training. From time to time we will publish short excerpts from the book to illustrate important concepts for use in assisting the blooming of the Dangerous Child’s mental and emotional habits.
A quotation that Greitens uses in his book comes from an Anonymous source, but illustrates the importance of “habit-formation” in child raising:
We sow a thought and reap an act;
We sow an act and reap a habit;
We sow a habit and reap a character;
We sow a character and reap a destiny.
The human brain is shaped on a day-by-day basis, from the moment of its fetal formation to the moment of death. The most rapid brain development and plastic change takes place in the first and middle trimesters, in infancy and early childhood, and in adolescence and early adulthood. But the brain never stops shaping itself on the basis of brain activity — sensations, thoughts, emotions, actions. That is why we say “It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.” Because you can always move toward the state of being a Dangerous Child, with the right thinking and action.
More from Eric Greitens:
Every time you act, your actions create feelings — pleasure or pain, pride or shame — that reinforce habits. With each repetition, what was once novel becomes familiar. If you are cruel every day, you become a cruel person. If you are kind every day, you become a kind person. It is easier to be compassionate the tenth time than the first time… it is also easier to be cruel the tenth time than the first time.
When a habit has become so engrained that actions begin to flow from you without conscious thought or effort, then you have changed your character __ Resilience“Habits” Eric Greitens
The same processes of brain-shaping and habit formation take place every day, with repeated choices that we make on what to do, what to think, how to feel/react, and which doors we choose to open or close to the future.
If we avoid strenuous effort, hard work, all potential pain, we close off many of our most promising avenues into the future. If we go further and blame all of our problems and weaknesses on others, we make it almost impossible to achieve any kind of resilience — much less the graceful and ultimately near-effortless resilience that comes from constant practise and intentional habit formation.
We will continue to provide short excerpts from Eric Greitens’ book to help illustrate many of the foundational concepts that underpin the Dangerous Child Method. As mentioned above, the book is mandatory reading for parents of prospective Dangerous Children, and for Dangerous Children in training. But you can read it too, if you are interested in that sort of thing.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood.