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Happy People


How To Create The Happiest People In the World

Upper Manhattan Forest Kids started in 2016 and we’ve been on an fun and adventurous ride ever since.

From the beginning we’ve committed ourselves to bringing the values and traditions of Danish Forest Kindergartens to kids here in New York and to create an extraordinary experience for the kids who participate and their families.

It’s been a labor of love and we couldn’t have made it this far without the support of the community of parents and children who have participated with us so far, we really hope that you’ll continue to be part of our story.

We began Upper Manhattan Forest Kids because we were inspired by Stephan’s early experience of forest kindergarten in Denmark and we really wanted that for our daughter Sunshine.

The Happiest People In The World

Over the last few years Danes have become famous for being the happiest people in the world and it is believed that it has something to do with these five values Trust, Community, Freedom, Practical Optimism, Security.


Trust - The Danes are proud of their culture of trusting children. They know that most of the time children will only venture out as far as they are comfortable with. That doesn’t mean that they won’t fall or experience an unpleasant situation. However, children are not protected from those experiences, but are trusted to be able to handle minor scrapes and falls and learn from them. 


Community - Having a community that surrounds and support you is of the utmost importance and the Danes agree. Sharing old and new traditions through fellowship and community gatherings creates opportunities for connection. It is scientifically proven that having a community versus being isolated impacts health and mental well being. 


Freedom - Feeling a sense of freedom to be and act in a way that is authentic to oneself is a gift. Denmark is a low power distance culture where leadership is often known to be open and generous regardless of seniority. Therefore, people of various walks of life and children too experience that their opinions are of value and therefore a level of freedom that cultivates confidence. 


Pragmatic Optimism - Being optimistic is often easier said than done. However, the Danes practice a pragmatism in their optimism that is more down to earth rather than pie in the sky. The Danish cultural tradition called hygge that has recently become very popular in the US is composed of rituals to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and is a perfect example of conveying pragmatic optimism. Through carefully chosen moments and of course the proper lighting, nothing is over complicated or impractical in order to bring happiness and contentment in a moment. 


Security - Of course having a social system that offers universal healthcare and other beneficial social services encourages the experience of security, but how do you foster that in community with children? The Danes have created smart traditions that ensure safety and comfort. For instance, dressing appropriately in the winter time is a must. Taking care of feeling and being secure first allows you to then enjoy the moment without concern.