When I went to Carl Rogers workshop in Santa Cruz in 1972 I listened to Carl describe the person Center qualities and I knew that I was home and someone had verbalized the qualities I felt within myself and so often people did not understand. I knew instantly that children have these qualities within themselves that needed to be recognized and supported by the world. I knew that I had come home and found a support group and I returned year after year for renewal and inspiration.
Carl was very interested in the school my husband and I had started, DeSillio school, which was a student centered school in Fort Collins Colorado. The children named it the silly Old school and agreed to change it a little into DeSillio so that we could get grants. I had a great deal of correspondence and meetings with Carl and he helped me to develop the Kids’ Workshop™ which is a program mainly for children 3 to 12 to help them express and keep the person centered qualities within them as they grow so they may grow to reach their highest potential. Carl wrote some about the school and the kids workshop in his book a Way of Being.
At the present my daughter Heather, and I have developed a training program to train people to be facilitators for the kids workshops and they receive an international certificate as a facilitator. I have presented these Training programs in Italy with Alberto Zucconi , IACP, the Italian institute of person centered approach and also in France with Patrick and Olga Kaufman through the person centered approach institute of France for more than 30 years. We are on the staff of the person centered institute in Italy and France and the Italian government has recognized the kids workshop. We also present the training programs in the US along with other presentations of positive ways of working with children for teachers and others.
The Kids’ Workshops and training programs go across culture and in the future we would like to reach as many children as possible so that they can express the person centered qualities within them and keep them as they grow. For children to be able to keep them and express them in cultures all over the world would bring greater understanding between people and peace. Carl once told me that the greatest hope for peace was to work with children. They are our future. I feel joy when I hear the same quotes of children Of different cultures and I know they have understanding and wisdom that needs to be recognized by the world. If people saw this wisdom in children it would change everything from politics, education, social services the way parents relate to their children and life in general. I believe that this can really be done and we can reach many children all over the world.
My daughter and I have also written a book, Wisdom of Children, which is about recognizing the person centered qualities in children and the way that we have used them in education, play therapy, and the kids workshop. We wrote this book in a way so many people could understand it. It is on the CSP website and also available on Amazon.