The Deep Green Bush-School's Essential Elements for raising a healthy human:
- Social and Emotional Intelligence – Social and emotional intelligence is the foundation for all learning. Social and emotional intelligence cannot be taught in a classroom; it can only be nurtured through a healthy environment that humans are suited to: through freedom in nature, the freedom to socialise with youth of mixed ages, and the freedom to take risks. It results in youth who are confident, creative, empathetic, intrinsically motivated and who are able to cooperate with others. It is the key to living a satisfying and meaningful life.
- Ecological Literacy – After social and emotional intelligence, there is nothing more important than youth with ecological literacy. This means living based on the recognition that all life is interconnected and that humans are not superior to any other life form. Every sustainable society that has ever existed has been one based on ecological literacy – also known as traditional indigenous knowledge
- Evolutionary Education – The DGBS is the form of education appropriate for our species. Most of us would readily admit that the African savannah is the species-appropriate place for an elephant or lion – rather than a zoo, just as we know that breastfeeding is the species-appropriate and only healthy way to feed human babies, rather than factory-produced infant 'formula'. In the same way, a classroom contradicts two million years of human evolution and thousands of years of indigenous cultures. The DGBS is based on evolution, not on what a handful of factory owners invented 150 years ago.
- Academics when ready – Children will naturally be drawn to learning what is culturally important and relevant to their lives. The crucial point is to wait until a young person is ready, otherwise we risk disrupting their natural development and causing long-term damage. Since humans are not robots, we all are ready at different points in our lives. Parents must be patient and trust that their kids will be ready in their own time. Once students are ready we will nurture their academic abilities, especially in literacy and numeracy.
- Maturity, Wisdom and Responsibility – The only meaningful and healthy form of education must be one that instills a sense of ecological responsibility and social responsibility. The essence of the DGBS is to raise youth who have a strong sense of what is healthy and what is not – and who are prepared to do something about it.
- Fearless Intelligence – This is more than just critical thinking. The DGBS is aimed at raising youth who will have a deep understanding of the world around them and will be able to think for themselves, without the insecurity of needing to “follow the herd”. They will be able to judge whether university is the right choice, and how to make the most of their one life. This is nurtured through our Warrior Council, which meets three times a week.
- Free from Modern Technology – The DGBS is here to raise humans, not machines. The more we use machines, the more we turn into machines, and the more we dumb ourselves down. Every time we use a computer, we weaken our emotional intelligence and weaken our humanity. Furthermore, no modern gadget is possible without mining, factories, toxic pollution, oil wars and the destruction of communities around the world. In order to make or defend modern technology, we first have to surrender all maturity, wisdom and responsibility. The DGBS fully promotes democratic and sustainable technologies.
- Democratic decision-making – If you want to live in a democracy, then youth must practice it. At the DGBS youth learn the responsibility inherent in freedom and demonstrate how well people can manage themselves through democratic decision-making. Our process is a bush adaptation of the Sudbury Valley School model - featuring a daily Talking Circle, a weekly Bush Council and Peacekeeping Circles when needed. The ultimate aim is for students to run the day-to-day operations of the school.
- A Culture of Sustainability - Every sustainable society that has ever existed provided a cultural framework for guiding its members to ensure their health and vitality. The Culture of Sustainability is our curriculum document which re-affirms the wisdom and knowledge that is necessary for a healthy world for all children, future generations and all life on Earth.