Category Archives: Infant

Preparing for Safe Sleep

Being with Infants: Episode 15 SLEEP  caused quite a bit of a stir for some that watched.

“Why do you have a blanket in the crib?”

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Some might think that an odd question- why wouldn’t you have a blanket in the crib?  Yet, others, question its safety.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, creating a safe sleep environment includes:

 

  • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Whether or not your baby may permitted to have a blanket in the crib at the Center has become a matter of public policy. Some states have dis-allowed licensed facilities the use of blankets in bed after this research conduced by the AAP.  Others, like the state of South Carolina where the Being with Infants video curriculum guide was filmed, do allow for blankets in cribs .

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At the Center, we pay particular interest in this part of our body care routines. Letting go and allowing oneself to release into the most vulnerable position within an institution of what are first strangers is the most challenging part of our day. No one script exists for each child, as family culture plays the most critical role.

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Was the baby rocked to sleep?

Does she listen to music or does white noise play in the background?

Does he doze off while nursing?

Is the room very dark? Very quiet?

Does the baby sleep alone or with a parent?

Not all of these routines and rituals can be duplicated at the Center. Complicating matters, in the interest of safety, we are required to follow the policies and procedures of our state licensing agencies regardless of family culture. In doing so, the question that often comes up is, “Can we…?”

Rather, the question might be, “Should we…?

Such is the case with allowing for blankets in the crib. We decided to revisit some of our earlier video of an older infant letting go to sleep to evaluate the child’s well-being and safety.

Two things became obvious to us in re-watching this video. One, the blanket had become untucked and had enveloped the child as she transitioned to rest. It did not cover her head and she was not alone, but what if the caregiver had been distracted. What if the blanket had gone over her head and the child went into distress.

Yet, the child incorporated the blanket in her self-regulation routines to peacefully let go to sleep. As far as well-being is concerned, this Little One seemingly needs the blanket as a transitional item. According to Healthy Children.org:

“These special comforts are called transitional objects, because they help children make the emotional transition from dependence to independence. They work, in part, because they feel good: They’re soft, cuddly, and nice to touch. They’re also effective because of their familiarity. This so-called lovey has your child’s scent on it, and it reminds him of the comfort and security of his own room. It makes him feel that everything is going to be okay.”

That’s exactly what we need in centers and institutions! So, where’s the compromise?

We asked our friends at Pikler® and RIE® to weigh in on the topic. Combining their input, we’ve come up with the following soon-to-be implemented policy at the Center.

Facilitating Sleep at the Center

  • Infants in cribs will be provided sleep sack as a cover and perimeter while resting in lieu of a blanket.
  • Infants in cribs will be provided a transitional cloth which they can have access to throughout the day. Upon sleeping, this cloth shall be removed by the provider and stored within eyesight of the child.
  • Infants transitioning to rest mats (at least one year of age or older) may be allowed an additional blanket/lovey for rest
  • Parents will be included in Safe Sleep Discussions during regularly scheduled Center Community Meetings

How do you facilitate safe and peaceful sleep routines at your center? What would you add to the above? What might you change?

 

Additional References:

Recommended Sleep Sack

Sample Transitional Cloth

The Science Behind Safe Sleep Recommendation

When to Let Your Toddler Sleep with a Blanket

Authentic Caregiving in Centers

Authenticity: authentic caregivers, authentic baby

The RIE® method is one that makes caregiving a pleasant experience for every party involved. One of the ways this concept is best demonstrated is through the belief and practice of authenticity that Beverly Kovach discusses in her video series, Being with Infants.

As caregivers, we understand that children are coming to school on their good days as well as their bad days. For the most part, we are able to keep our expectations for them at an appropriate level. That means that we don’t expect the children to just stop being tired, stop being upset, or do anything to repress their mood on their own.

The Greeting

In my experience in centers, most adults feel the complete opposite way when it concerns themselves. Perhaps they didn’t sleep well the night before. Perhaps they are going through a situation that is causing them emotional turmoil. Despite the way they are feeling, they feel they must put on a happy face in order to be with the children.

Children can easily feel the tension in our bodies and have insight to what we are feeling – even if we don’t want to admit our feelings! Having a tensed and stressed body while having a smiling face can be confusing to any child and send them mixed messages. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be honest with the children you are caring for? This not only helps the caregivers by being honest with her emotions, but also teaches the children about their emotions and empathy for others.

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In Magda Gerber’s book, Your Self-Confident Baby, she tells a story about a mother who learned to be authentic with her daughter. When the daughter was sick, of course the mother cared for her. When the mother got sick, she was honest with her daughter from the start. “I hear you crying, I want to give you what you need, but right now I don’t feel well.” The mother said the daughter was less demanding than she was ordinarily!

Children understand more than most caregivers might think they do. We can be authentic and honest with them.

Note: Thank you, Ms. Rebekah for sharing your thoughts on Authenticity: authentic caregivers, authentic baby. Ms. Rebekah began working with infants at the center May 2017

Sources:

Being with Infants Video Guide

Your Self Confident Baby

Leading Early Childhood Center Promotes “Education from Birth” with Innovative Infant Video Curriculum Guide

March 6, 2017

Being with Infants: A Curriculum that Works for Caregivers (video series) by Beverly Kovach

MACTE accredited 0-3 Teacher Trainer, Pikler® Certified Pedagoge Instructor, and RIE® Associate and certified Foundations® Instructor

About the series

A 3+hour unique video training series linking early childhood providers with direct access to a comprehensive care approach. Beverly Kovach author of Being with Babies, Being with Infant and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works for Caregivers, and numerous nationally published articles facilitates the series as caregivers demonstrate putting theories into daily best practice.

Beverly developed her theories and practices as a Fellow of Magda Gerber and under mentorship with Anna Tardos. She refined these techniques to be used within the daycare she founded in 1977, Little Learners Lodge. Current caregivers of Little Learners Lodge provide the video demonstrations for this series.

One of the greatest challenges in working with children in institutions is developing a congruent approach amongst adults as they balance the child’s emotional well-being within the guidelines of policies and procedures. This video series brings providers together in the discussion utilizing the expertise of today’s leading practitioners.

Being with Infants: A Curriculum that Works for Caregivers (video series) combines four decades of learning and presents it into easy-to-digest chapters. Demonstrations include supporting infants in transitional positions, bottle and lap feeding, sequencing to sleep, and peaceful diapering. The series also provides caregivers and centers the necessary tools to integrate the method into their own daily routines allowing each child to thrive, develop, and learn individually.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.26.54 AMAvailable for purchase or rent on demand via https://vimeo.com/ondemand/lllinfants. Get the entire series and receive a $40 discount and three bonus features. Organizations interested in becoming an affiliate (10% of sales) should contact  theRIEway@gmail.com for details.

What makes this video different

  • First of its kind
  • Complete introductory course of instruction specific to infant care
  • Demonstrates the daily implementation of three “best practices”
  • Well organized and easy to understand
  • Closed Captioned
  • New information for providers working with children in institutions
  • Affordable
  • Presented by childcare professionals for childcare professionals

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Who should view content

  • Caregivers
  • Teacher Trainers
  • School Owners and Administrators
  • Public Providers
  • Parents
  • Those working with infants at risk
  • Policy Makers

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About Beverly Kovach, R.N., M.N.

Beverly has been working with and consulting in early childhood centers for more than 40 years. She is MACTE accredited to train at the 0-3 level and is one of two teacher trainers certified by Anna Tardos to facilitate Pikler® intensives in North America.  Mentored by Magda Gerber, Beverly is a leading RIE® Foundations and established the first RIE® satellite training center in Melbourne, Florida. She currently serves as Vice President of the Pikler®USA Board and is a regular presenter at national and international conferences. The center Beverly founded in 1977, Little Learners Lodge, became the first RIE® certified center on the East Coast. The center serves as a demonstration site for daily implementation and paraprofessional trainings as it cares for children ages infants through Kindergarten.

In Care of Infants: A Relationship Based Curriculum

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Introduction to Pikler® Pedagogy Engaging with Infants and Toddlers through Respectful and Peaceful Care. It was interesting to learn that much of the work started by Dr. Emmi Pikler was introduced to the United States by way of Magda Gerber. This was my first training opportunity to receive information through the lenses of both a mother and caregiver.

One of the many informative topics discussed were the components that make up the infant and toddler curriculum. When teaching through peaceful and respectful care this curriculum is composed of the relationship between the environment, the caregiver, and the child. It was not until my time in a child centered environment that I realized just how beneficial to the development of the whole child a relationship based curriculum can be.

A relationship based approach for infants and toddlers focuses on developmentally appropriate concepts such as building trust, care for self, and positive social interactions. Skills which have a positive overall effect on all learning moving forward. A properly prepared environment leads to opportunities for developmentally appropriate discovery and learning to occur according to the child’s interests and readiness. The curriculum based on the synergy between a prepared environment, the caregiver, and child allows for care that is respectful, responsive, and reciprocal. This approach can be equally beneficial in the home environment.

During my time spent in more traditional early childhood environments, it was all too common to see early toddler curriculums centered on things such as handwriting, student assessments, lesson plans for math concepts, and crafts that had been chosen for the children weeks in advance. There was a lot of time and focus spent on simply walking in a straight line.

In the words of Magda Gerber, “Why do we expect what the child cannot do, and not appreciate what the child can do?”

As parents and caregivers if we are able to take time and be in the moment, we are better able to respond according to the situation at hand. When caring for children it can become easy to get in the habit of simply “going through the motions”. Being responsive and reciprocal may mean having to take an extra three minutes to help the baby calm down before starting a diaper change. Or for me, waking up ten minutes earlier for a smoother morning transition from home to school.

The ability to be fully present leads to providing care that is more accurately responsive and reciprocal to what our children are trying to tell us. Positive relationships built on trust with our children and students provide them with a secure foundation from which they can begin to learn from their environment and trust people within it.

Pikler said “As a matter of principle, we refrain from teaching skills and activities which, under suitable conditions, will evolve through the child’s own initiative and independent activity.”

Here’s a link for more information on  Pikler®USA and to link up with putting the theories into daily center practices, check out Little Learners Lodge.

(Post by Ms. Summer former Little Learners Lodge teacher and new mom)

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New Video Training Series!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Launch of new Video Course

Being with Infants and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works
By Beverly A. Kovach, MN

After fifteen years in psychiatric nursing, Beverly Kovach began her early childhood profession with the founding of Little Learners Lodge daycare in 1977. She has spent the past four decades researching and studying best practices as it relates to the care and well-being of children in centers and institutions and is considered an expert in the field. We are excited to announce the launch of Ms. Kovach’s curriculum guide, Being with Infants and Toddlers, in video format.

This course provides early childhood providers with direct access to Beverly Kovach’s expertise in easy to digest chapters of philosophy, body care, play and learning, administration & more. Beverly concretely describes how to integrate the curriculum immediately into childcare situations involving demonstrations by certified Infant and Toddler Teachers.

Photo: David Vigliotti
Photo: David Vigliotti

The course fee of $390.00 includes over five hours of video content and a copy of the curriculum guide Being with Babies and Toddlers. During the promotional period until January 1st, participants will receive the course at the promotional offering of $200.00 which will include the guide and live webinar support.

BEVERLY KOVACH MMPSchool Founder AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer RIE Associate Pikler Trainer, USA Author
BEVERLY KOVACH
MMPSchool Founder
AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer
RIE Associate
Pikler Trainer, USA
Author

About Beverly Kovach, MN
Beverly Kovach is a renowned Infant/Toddler Specialists and founder of Little Learners Lodge. Ms. Kovach mentored directly with Magda Gerber and is one of only two North American pedagogues certified by Anna Tardos to train in the Pikler® Model of education for young children. Beverly is published in the field and has authored two books on the topic of infant/todder curriculum. She is a keynote speaker, Trainer of Trainers facilitator, and is certified to train in Montessori (MACTE 0-3), Pikler® and Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE®). She currently serves as President and Founder of Waverly Place providing childcare training and consultation services. Contact: theCHILDcentered@gmail.com

Infant Play

About Little Learners Lodge
Little Learners Lodge provides childcare services for children ages infancy through Kindergarten on a year ‘round daily basis. The center serves as a demonstration site for Beverly Kovach and resource center for educators and parents. Little Learners Lodge provides the video demonstration and bonus features for the video course, Being with Babies and Toddlers.

For more information please contact
Nicole Vigliotti, Executive Director
Little Learners Lodge
208 Church Street
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
http://www.mmpschool.com
theRIEway@gmail.com