Every child is born with innate wisdom; the role of adults – parents, educators, social workers and policy makers – is to nurture this wisdom and enable it to flourish. This is the belief that underpins this extraordinary book. Barbara and Heather Williams have drawn on the work of Carl Rogers, Virginia Axline and other leading person-centred theorists and educationalists to devise unique ways to foster the innate wisdom of children and young people in a range of settings.
‘Children have the ability to trust, to express themselves in a clear, straight way, to be empathetic and open to differences in themselves and other cultures and to accept other people and themselves for who they are and not for what they do or do not do. When a child can recognize and express these qualities it helps them to be insightful, to have high self-confidence, to be creative and to be resilient. When the wisdom of children is not recognized and they cannot express person-centered qualities, their self-confidence goes down, they lose trust, they are fearful and they often either give up or rebel. The educational and medical systems are quick to diagnose them with ADHD, bipolar disorder and other labels and quick to medicate them, when much of this medication could be avoided,’ they write.
The book is in four main parts. It starts with the founding of DeSillio School, in Fort Collins, Colorado, and tells how teachers, parents and the community worked together to support the wisdom of children and help them to learn in creative ways through using and bringing out their person-centered qualities.
Foreword by Alberto Zucconi
Part 1: Formation of DeSillio School
1. The world of DeSillio
2. Field trips and internships
3. Experiences of children and teachers
Part 2: Play therapy
1. Forms of therapy
2. Tools and experiences
Part 3: Native American philosophy and our work
3. Navajo pen pals
4. Rough Rock School in present times
5. Kids’ Workshop™ and Native American philosophy
Part 4: Kids’ Workshop™
10. The setting
11. The first meetings
12. Taking risks, failure and flexibility
13. Formation of Kids’ Workshop abroad
14. Kids’ Workshop facilitator programs
15. Kids’ Workshop in different settings and cultures
16. Words of the children
Part 5: Conclusion
17. What if adults recognized the wisdom of children?
'I consider Barbara and Heather’s work to be focused on issues of no little importance, especially today, in a world in tumultuous change… it makes sense to trust, protect and promote the innate capacities of our children to be fully human. By doing so we may re-learn from them the importance of connectedness in how we live our lives and of establishing healthy relationships with the life within us and around us, in the here and now.' Alberto Zucconi, President, Institute for the Person-Centered Approach (IACP), Rome.