Magda Gerber, Child Care Advocate, promoted an approach known as RIE. This approach guides caregivers to interact which infants and toddlers in a way that focuses on supporting them where they are developmentally by providing support, positive interactions, consistency and being respectful to each child. The idea is that, during infant-toddler years, quality caregiving is the best curriculum.
Some real life take aways I’ve gained from this approach are that caregivers should approach children with an intention to learn who they are and why they approach things certain ways; when caregivers are patient and thoughtful while listening to and learning from each child we as caregivers are more successful in providing quality care; always offer a hug to a child so they know that no matter what happens they can depend on you; caregivers should be mindful of how each child is interpreting how the caregiver is approaching and interacting with them. Would you want someone to scoop you up to change your clothes without asking you first? If not, then children too should be asked first.
Here is more from RIE.org:
”Parents and professionals find that the Educaring™ approach allows them to focus on what matters most: the connection between themselves and the baby in their care. In attuning to their baby, they learn to trust their baby and themselves.
From Dear Parent by Magda Gerber
THE BASIS OF THE EDUCARING® APPROACH: RESPECT
Respect is the basis of the Educaring® Approach.
We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.
OUR GOAL: AN AUTHENTIC CHILD
An authentic child is one who feels secure, autonomous, competent, and connected.
When we help a child to feel secure, feel appreciated, feel that “somebody is deeply, truly interested in me,” by the way we just look, the way we just listen, we influence that child’s whole personality, the way that child sees life.
TRUST IN THE INFANT’S COMPETENCE
We have basic trust in the infant to be an initiator, to be an explorer eager to learn what he is ready for.
Because of this trust, we provide the infant with only enough help necessary to allow the child to enjoy mastery of her own actions.
Our method, guided by respect for the infant’s competence, is observation. We observe carefully to understand the infant’s communications and his needs.
The more we observe, the more we understand and appreciate the enormous amount and speed of learning that happens during the first two or three years of life. We become more humble, we teach less, and we provide an environment for learning instead.
CAREGIVING TIMES: INVOLVING THE CHILD
During care activities (diapering, feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.), we encourage even the tiniest infant to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient of the activities. Parents create opportunities for interaction, cooperation, intimacy and mutual enjoyment by being wholeheartedly with the infant during the time they spend together anyway.
“Refueled” by such unhurried, pleasurable caring experiences, infants are ready to explore their environment with only minimal intervention by adults.
A SAFE, CHALLENGING, PREDICTABLE ENVIRONMENT
Our role is to create an environment in which the child can best do all the things that the child would do naturally. The more predictable an environment is, the easier it is for babies to learn.
As infants become more mobile, they need safe, appropriate space in which to move. Their natural, inborn desire to move should not be handicapped by the environment.
TIME FOR UNINTERRUPTED PLAY AND FREEDOM TO EXPLORE
We give the infant plenty of time for uninterrupted play. Instead of trying to teachbabies new skills, we appreciate and admire what babies are actually doing.
We establish clearly defined limits and communicate our expectations to develop discipline.
© 1998 by Magda Gerber”
Janet Lansbury promotes a child centered uproavh to education, interaction and engagement. I hope you enjoy these reads as much as I! Below is an excerpt from her podcast Unruffled. This particular podcast is titled “Be Careful What You Teach (It Might Interfere with What They Are Learning)”.
“Children are born with these amazing learning abilities and they’re actually able to stay with their interests for a very long time. But when we try to impose our interest in their learning, and what we believe they should be learning, it’s often a mismatch. It’s similar to trying to put up curtains on windows of a house that hasn’t been built yet. They’re still working on the foundation.”
When children are showing us their their ‘big emotions’ it can be overwhelming for both them and us, as their parents or caregivers. It is important to remember that these emotions can overpower a child’s logic, and sometimes children just need someone to support their feelings and to be present for them rather than to fix their emotions. Our response and acknowledgement of their emotions is very important. Janet Landsbury discusses this in one of her Unruffled podcasts. Read more below:
“Yes, in a general sense, a child who is whining, acting out, et cetera, is in a place of disconnection, and they do need us to connect with them, but what does that look like, and then what does that look like when we have another child or multiple children there as well, and they seem to need our attention? How do we connect with all of these children at once, and how does connection actually look with each child?
…the way to connect with children is not necessarily to give them what they seem to want on the surface or in the moment. That is not what it means to connect with an upset child.
When children are upset and behaving erratically or even just whining, they’re not in the logical part of their brain. They’re in the emotional centers of their brain, just in their emotion. The things that they ask for or demand or want in those states aren’t logical either. Oftentimes, it’s just a part of expressing that feeling, that they want to tell us to do this or that or that they need this or another one of those. When it’s out of those feelings, what connection is about is really just holding space and supporting those feelings to be expressed. It’s not to try to offer a solution to make the feeling stop. Connecting is seeing what’s really going on with our children, which isn’t always easy because we get touched off by their behavior and the emotions that they’re expressing. We get easily overwhelmed.” (Excerpt from Janet Lansbury’s Podcast ‘Unruffled’)