Q. How, when and where did the Natural Child Project first get
up and running and what/who is the motivating/driving force?
My son Jason (then 19) and I joined the Internet community
in the fall of 1996, while we were living on Vancouver Island, BC,
Canada; we currently live on Salt Spring Island, BC. In December
of that year, we started a very small web site with three of my
newspaper columns and a little information about my background.
In January 1997, Alice Miller kindly agreed to add some of her
articles to the web site. Dr. Miller and I had corresponded since
1990, when she added my article "Ten
Reasons not to Hit Your Kids" as an appendix to her book Breaking
Down the Wall of Silence. After adding the "Alice
Miller Library", we gradually added articles by other
leading writers in the field, as well as more of my own articles,
and my "Parenting Advice Column".
In the summer of 1997, we realized that the web site was all
about children, but that we had nothing for them or by them, so
Jason started the Global
Children's Art Gallery. The gallery has become extremely
popular internationally, and has been featured on CNN Headline
News, Canada AM TV, the "Yahoo Daily Pick", and
elsewhere. We currently have over 1,000 wonderful pictures by
children age 1 to 12 from many countries around the world.
Our motivating force is our conviction that the early years of
childhood are critical. We have posted this mission statement on
our home page:
Our vision is a world in which all children are treated
with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion. In such a
world, every child can grow into adulthood with a generous
capacity for love and trust.
While we have been inspired by many authors and thinkers in the
field of attachment parenting, the La
Leche League has been the primary inspiration for our work.
Q. What type of information can one expect to find at The
Natural Child Project web site?
The site covers information and advice on all aspects of
"attachment parenting" (raising children with respect
and trust), unschooling (trusting the child to set the
"curriculum"), and child advocacy (including documents
from children's advocacy organizations around the world). In the
Table of Contents, articles are listed by author as well as by
topic. There is also a search engine for finding specific
subjects. We also have the chapter "Common
Objections to Homeschooling" from John Holt's book Teach
We recently added a new section, "Attachment
Parenting Research", to report on current scientific
studies that confirm the long-term benefits of extended
breastfeeding, family co-sleeping, responsiveness to crying, and
other aspects of attachment parenting.
Q. What are the main objectives of the project?
Our objective is to help parents understand the critical
importance of the earliest years of childhood, and to provide the
kinds of information and encouraging support they need to treat
their children with unconditional love and respect.
Q. Tell us the general response from those who come in contact
with your web site.
We have been overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response from
the public. The site currently receives over 300,000 page access
per month [current figure], and has been given over 200 awards.
But what we have most appreciated are the many hundreds of
profoundly moving letters from parents,
telling us how helpful our site has been for them.
Here are two such letters:
"This phenomenal web site contains, for me, the most
treasured and valued sharing of ideas and information that I
have received on child raising ever." - K.L.
"Your respect for children and their feelings really
came through and was just what I needed to hear after a
difficult week." - L.C.
It is impossible to put into words how motivating and inspiring
such exceptional feedback has been for our continued work.