Projects

Current ChildSpirit Projects

In addition to on-going speaking and consulting, ChildSpirit currently has several major initiatives in the areas of education, research, psychotherapy, youth, young adult and family programs, and training.

ChildSpirit advances a project team model in which staff and board members, along with individuals from various constituencies and partnering organizations, form a team to develop and implement programs. A partial list of current projects includes:

 

Transforming Education

  • Revisioning Education
  • Alliance for Educational Innovation

Revisioning Education

From Information to Transformation

Through a series of initiatives ChildSpirit is helping to challenge the emphasis on simple information acquisition and testing as the primary focus of education. We work toward the day when education becomes a wisdom tradition. ChildSpirit conducts research and publication, offers keynotes, presentations and training, consultation, and partners to offer conferences and gatherings to deepen educational practice.

Examples of topics include:

 

Alliance for Educational Innovation

Alliance for Educational Renewal

Through a series of training, partnership and research initiatives ChildSpirit is helping to challenge the prevailing emphasis on simple information acquisition and testing as the primary focus of education and instead advance an integrative approach that includes an education for the mind and heart balancing intuition with the analytic, and mastery with mystery, emphasizing community, character, creativity and cultivates wisdom while gathering around the currency of information. We seek to renew teachers and schooling while helping education to become a wisdom tradition itself. Join us in becoming part of this alliance of innovative educators and friends of education.

 

Education for the 21st Century

Much of contemporary education is guided by a 19th century model of learning and learners. In order to meet the needs of today’s children and world, we are taking an integrative approach to education by reconsidering goals, pedagogy, curriculum as well as the nature of teachers and students in order to develop an education that emphasizes wisdom and transformation over mere test scores. Drawing from best practices in public and private initiatives, contemporary research on learning and development, as well as ancient wisdom traditions, we seek a comprehensive vision for education. We are seeking partners for this large project which includes a summit series, publications, and teacher education.

 

Research & Scholarship

  • Survey of Recalled Childhood Spiritual Capacities and Experiences
  • Long-Term Study on the Spiritual Life of Children
  • Spiritual Assessment and Treatment

 

Survey of Recalled Childhood Spiritual Capacities and Experiences

Survey of Recalled Childhood Experience An empirical survey of recalled childhood spiritual capacities and experiences. This pilot survey provides compelling evidence that there is remarkable diversity and frequency of childhood spiritual experience. The statistical analysis from the preliminary study of 450 young adults suggest that 90% of individuals have one of a wide variety of spiritual awareness in childhood or adolescence. A national study would be needed to validate preliminary findings, but if the results are even close the original, we may need to rewrite the book on development. We seek collaboration for a national survey.

Executive Summary

Full research article

 

Long Term Study on the Spiritual Life of Children

Spiritual Life of Children An on-going, long-term study continues to seek understand the subtle inner life of young people and its relevance for adulthood. A book, The Secret Spiritual Life of Children, by Tobin Hart is an intermediate outcome of this on-going study. Much of this research has been garnered through extensive interviews and experiences with hundreds of children and their families. Click here for a synopsis of the book.

 

Spiritual Assessment and Treatment

The Joint Accreditation Commission for Hospitals (this is the accreditation body in the US) has a new requirement for all clinical assessment: spirituality. We have developed and are piloting an instrument for children (and it has spread by therapists to adult clients as well) in the behavioral health (psychological/ psychiatric) wing of a hospital that serves a large out-patient children’s population. Data from case files and therapist interviews are being examined to explore the impact. Early results suggest that this is a missing link in treatment that is providing new direction for therapists and powerful results for clients. This has promise but needs more research and development. Click here for a brief overview of the dimension. In addition, we are developing a self-scoring assessment instrument that takes into account what we are broadly calling spiritual dimensions: ways of knowing, character traits, sensitivities, hope, meaning, faith, questions, etc. at a level that would be instructive for educators, parents, religious educators, clinicians, and young people themselves.

 

Conferences

Coming Soon!

Workshops and Training

ChildSpirit offers training for parents and professionals who will serve as leaders in the growing field of children’s spirituality.  and related areas of consciousness, spirituality and psychotherapy, and education. Trainings are designed to serve therapists, religious educators, teachers, parents, community leaders, and more. We are also able to customize workshops for various constituencies and often partner with organizations to co-development workshops or provide expertise.

Spirituality and Psychotherapy Integration Series

Through a series of trainings the SPI series was designed to help professional psychotherapists integrate spirituality and psychotherapy. Innovative methods for both therapy and spiritual practice are explored along with an emphasis on nurturing the inner life of the therapist. Master therapists and advanced spiritual practitioners serve as workshop leaders for both experienced and aspiring therapists.

For Youth, Young Adults and Families

ChildSpirit emphasizes creating environments that help refine rather than repress their innate spiritual capacities. We emphasize a balance of drawing out natural capacities for wisdom and wonder, compassion and questioning while offering our worlds best models of the good, the true, and the beautiful.

  • Enchanted Forest Family Camp, held annually near Asheville, North Carolina, this week-long gathering has brought together children and families from around the world since 1998.  The camp is designed to help children and their families understand and refine their natural spiritual capacities and to serve as an playful educational laboratory. Many of these families in turn will serve as resources for parenting groups in their home region (Enchanted Forest Camp)
  • Pandora’s Gift. An emerging program for 18-27 year olds seeking to explore and express their spirit in the world. Pandora’s Gift is designed as a vessel that supports young adults and provide forums for them to explore and express their knowledge while encouraging them to “be the change” they want to see in the world.

When Pandora lifted the lid to the box, she let out misery, sadness, and disease. But the most powerful gift she freed was hope. Young adults today are our hope to make the world better. If we give them a chance to use their voices and collaborate together by teaching, listening and questioning then there is no stopping them.

Networking

Summit on Children’s Spirituality

Children’s spirituality is becoming a powerful social change movement effecting our understanding of children and, in turn, the institutions and policies that are designed to nurture them. A summit on children’s spirituality that brings a group of leaders from across faiths, disciplines, and roles would help bring further depth, diversity and coordination to this area. This retreat (or series of gatherings) would serve as an opportunity to explore collaboration and vision in the area of the spirituality of children and youth. We are looking for partners and sponsors to develop and implement a first summit. Please contact us.

 

Global Resource Network on Children’s Spirituality

We have discovered both a great need and emerging resources in the area of children’s spirituality that have yet to find one another. Using extensive contacts and today’s sophisticated information management technology, the global resource network will provide a means for researchers working in this field to find one another, for parents, therapists, and teachers to find resource materials on-line and connect with resources in their local area. We are currently seeking partners to help establish this network. Please contact us.

Speaking and Consulting

Our staff is available to provide inspiring and informative keynote talks, media interviews (print, television and radio), trainings and conversations on a variety of topics related to the spirituality of young people and adults in the areas of education, parenting, psychotherapy, consciousness research, and spiritual transformation.

Topics include:

  • The Secret Spiritual Life of Children
  • Teaching for Wisdom
  • Spiritual Parenting and Understanding the Multi-Dimensional Child
  • The Paradox of Transformation
  • Spirituality in Psychotherapy

Consulting:

ChildSpirit Institute members have been offering pro bono consulting with families, researchers, authors, and organizations to develop and promote the understanding of children’s spirituality.