Antifragility Resources: People and Projects

Not-FragileThere are many wonderful and insightful people working to sanity back to child-rearing. To promote freedom and independence for children (and parents). Free play and learning. Emotional and physical resilience. Antifragility.

Check out their work. Talk about their ideas and spread the word. Antifragilty is a concept – a movement – whose time has come. Join us.

(This is an evolving list. If you know of someone whose work should be included, please let me know via the comments or the Contact page).

In addition to the link below, you can find links to relevant reading materials here.

Purchasing books from Amazon via the links below helps to support this website. Thanks!

Brilliant People and Their Work

Ellen Beate is an associate professor of Physical Education at Queen Maud University in Norway. Her work focuses on the importance of risk-taking and outdoor play to child development and well-being. Her work demonstrates that, from a very early age, children have a developmentally necessary need to take risks in their play. Recently, she worked with ParticipACTION, a Canadian non-profit, to develop a Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play: The Biggest Risk is Keeping Kids Indoors.

Mariana Brussoni is a researcher at the University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health and an expert on injur prevention in children and adults. Her work focuses on  understanding the importance of outdoor, “risky” play for children’s healthy development, and how the built outdoor environment (ex. playgrounds) impacts children’s outdoor play. Her research suggests that that kids who engage in “risky” adventures are more active, more confident, and more psychologically healthy than kids who are overprotected. Here are some articles about her work: “Playing, with fire: How much risk should we expose our kids to?” and “Roughhousing and Climbing Trees: Some Risks May Be Good for Kids.”

Tim Gill is one of the UK’s leading thinkers on childhood, and an advocate for positive change in children’s everyday lives. He’s the author of No Fear: Growing Up in a Risk Averse Society (available for free online), which argues that childhood is being undermined by the growth of risk aversion. This restricts children’s play, limits their freedom of movement, corrodes their relationships with adults and constrains their exploration of physical, social and virtual worlds. His blog and website is called Rethinking Childhood.

Peter Gray is a psychologist at Boston College, author of Free To Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, as well as the popular textbook, Psychology (now in it’s 7th edition), and the blogger behind Psychology Today‘s Freedom to Learn blog. Peter’s work focuses on children’s play (particularly age-mixed play), self-directed learning and the role of play in human biological and cultural evolution.

Peter interviewed me for Psychology Today in April 2015: Meet Danielle Meitiv: Fighting for Her Kids Rights.

  • Jonathan Haidt (Antifragility) – The Happiness Hypothesis, The Righteous Mind
  • Angela Hascom (Learning, Outdoor Play) – Balanced and Barefoot, Timbernook
  • Julie Lythcott-Haims (Education, Parenting) – How to Raise an Adult
  • Vicki Hoefle (Parenting) – Duct-Tape Parenting, The Straight Talk on Parenting
  • Jessica Lahey (Education) – The Gift of Failure

Richard Louv is the author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature -Deficit Disorder, The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age, and his latest book (April 12, 2015)  Vitamin N, The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life: 500 Ways to Enrich Your Family’s Health and Happiness. He coined the term ‘nature-deficit disorder’ to describe the growing alienation of humans, especially children, from the natural world, and the consequences of this shift away from nature. He is a co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Children and Nature Network.

  • David Pimental (Legal Issues)
  • Lenore Skenazy (Childhood Independence, Risk-taking) – Free-Range Kids
  • Gulver Tuley (Play, Risk-taking) – 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), Tinkering School