Category Archives: RIE and Montessori

In just 6 short years, your child will undergo a miraculous transformation. A developmental journey from complete helplessness to becoming a fully functioning human being. At the end of this period, their personality will be fully formed. Which means that everything that happens between now and then is crucial.

That’s precisely why we specialize in this amazing stage of development, and why we invest so much time, energy and training to ensure we offer the best possible start in life for the kids in our community.

Born of the well-proven principles of Magda Gerber (RIE) and Maria Montessori, our world-class demonstration school (first opened in 1977) enables children to feel confident and secure enough to explore while our highly trained staff keeps them interested & challenged.

We believe in…
RESPECT that kids thrive when they’re respected as partners in their learning.
EMPATHY negotiation & compromise are as valuable as learning to read.
CARE in guiding kids to become active citizens, not just students.
FREEDOM appropriate freedom fosters responsibility & inner discipline.

Self-Care

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A few months ago, the idea of writing about my self-care routine as a new mom was presented to me.

My initial thoughts were something along the lines of  “. . . self-care routine? As in something “nice” I do for myself regularly? I couldn’t possibly write about this right now. I’m exclusively breastfeeding, and life pretty much revolves around taking care of Archer 24/7.. . .there’s not much self-care involved in my routine.”

As a first time mom, I had an idea of how EVERYTHING should go. I got my gym membership two weeks before Archer was born, brought glass bottles, a jogging stroller, and signed my husband and myself up for any childbirth and new parenting classes that were being offered in the immediate area.

Then, our son was born.

RIE Baby
Photo: David Vigliotti

Fast forward a couple of months and I think I’ve found my niche.

As he continues to grow older and in turn gains more independence I’m finding self-care to be easier, and more enjoyable. After preparing the environment, Archer is now independent enough to move on his own allowing him to enjoy time alone while I do things I enjoy. Most of the time it may be things such as tending to the garden, or preparing a new meal that may take a while longer. I have continued to nurse, but the introduction of solid foods has even allowed me ten to twenty more minutes of time for myself each day; and sometimes that’s all that’s needed. Making self-care a priority has been beneficial because it gives me a moment to check-in with myself, continue enjoyable hobbies, and make sure that my needs are being met. Taking this time also allows the child time to explore independently, interact socially with other children or adults, and have his own experiences.  Self-care will undoubtedly look differently for everyone, based on personal needs. These routines may even fluctuate based on the needs of the children in our care if we are practicing a more child-centered approach, however, I’ve found it to be a very important part of being able to be fully present while caring for my son.

“Raising children is not easy, and it’s important to take care of yourself.” -Magda Gerber page 61 Your Self Confident Baby under the chapter Go Out, Have Fun

  • A bike ride around the block
  • Long showers with my favorite music playing (so I know for a fact that I didn’t just hear the baby cry!)
  • Tending to the garden
  • Watching an uninterrupted episode of my favorite TV show
  • Enjoying a cup of coffee on the porch, or while checking out my aquarium

 

Trusting the Child

One day as I was scrolling through a social media feed I stumbled across a quote that said, “You cannot make a flower bloom faster by pulling it.” I felt like this was a statement that most people could easily agree with in terms of flowers; but how about applying the same idea to the child? Each child will bloom in his or her own time when their needs are properly met and without the use of force. This requires a certain level of trust in the child and their abilities.

When our son was born his feet turned in pretty severely. As a first time Dad, and eager to make his mark he was pretty persistent in wanting to teach our son to straighten his feet and push off. His reason being. . . “Well if he can crawl faster, then he can walk faster and be ahead.” Shamefully my response was a little less than kind at just two weeks post-partum, however the fact of the matter is that this is a very popular belief. We are lead to believe that faster and sooner are always better. Walk faster, read faster, sleep through the night sooner, the list goes on. When we take that stance, it’s easy to assume that the child needs specific direction, coaxing, or force in order to develop a skill that would otherwise emerge naturally in due time.
DSC_8930 We can often feel the need to be in control, which leads to a lack of trust in the child, and a more adult centered approach. In some cases our need to instruct can be more of a hindrance than a help. During the Pikler® conference (mentioned in a previous post) we performed an experiential to better illustrate this concept. We were placed in pairs, and given a chair. One person was to act as the adult, and the other a child. On the first round the adult was asked to tell the child what to do in order to climb onto the chair. For the second round the child was supposed to climb onto the chair without specific instruction, and the adult was there for support and guidance if needed. After round one when  asked how they felt, many people described the experience as being more challenging because they knew what needed to be done in order to accomplish the task but they began to feel nervous, scared, or second guess themselves based on the actions of the adult. When left to climb onto the chair on their own with the adult as an observer they stated that they felt more confident in their movements, relaxed, and knew that if they needed the help it was available.  Both in the classroom and at home, this idea of natural development and blossoming serves as a reminder to trust in the ability of the child. As parents and caregivers we can help our children to blossom by supporting their needs at the moment verses pulling them towards where we feel they should be.

“Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished”- Lao Tzu

 

For more information on this methodology, feel free to check out the websites listed below:

https://pikler.org

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/lllinfants

http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200409/Gonzalez.pdf

Starting with Respect

 

October 29th 2016, I became a new mother. Over the past few months there have been many shifts in both my work, and perspective of the relationship between the child and the adult. Nearing the end of my pregnancy I became eager for a new opportunity to observe the child. I began looking forward to applying the things I learned through RIE ® and time spent in the classroom in my own home. I quickly noted that raising my own child would be the greatest opportunity to be authentic and to raise an authentic child who is peaceful, cooperative, and inner-directed. In the early stages of infancy, the child begins to shape his understanding of the world, and himself based on the environment and the people in it. We are role models for our children. We are helping to awaken the hearts and minds of children who will then, go out and have an influence on others. On several occasions, my son has been referred to as “just a baby”, this is something I often find surprising.

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Just; as in only or simply?

From the perspective of both a mother and caregiver this saying strikes a sore spot for me. Not only does it come off as dismissive, but it also implies that somehow the child is considered less than.

“Let us realize that the child is the worker who produces man . . . it is the child that society must take into consideration, this worker who produces humanity itself.”-Maria Montessori

Our actions as parents, teachers, or members of a community are far reaching. With each word, acknowledgement, and touch we are sending messages that will help to build up, or tear down the growing sense of self within our children.  Modeling behavior not only sets an example for our children, but for other adults who may not be familiar with a more respectful approach.

So what can we do?

We can begin by treating the child with respect. We speak respectfully of children, and infants, as people of equal value. Not as “just” a child, or “just” a baby. Regarding children with respect helps the child to learn that they are worthy of receiving respect, and sets a positive example of how to treat others.  We may also model respectful behavior by acknowledging our children’s feelings. This includes their likes and dislikes. Acknowledging our children in this way sends the message that they are respected as individuals with feelings that may differ from our own.

All of this is not to say that there are no boundaries or limits. We know that children need freedom within limits to maintain safety and order. However, it is possible to maintain this order while still providing a respectful environment in which the child can thrive. In The Absorbent Mind Montessori states that, “Nature does not merely give the power of imitation, but that of transforming oneself to become what the example demonstrates.” We must be the positive examples on which our children can base their understanding of their own value and the world around them.

“Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.”- Magda Gerber

summer and archer kids fair 2017

HAS PIKLER CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

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Caring for babies with respect is our most important mission. Together, we can make a difference! Thousands around the globe have been applying Dr. Pikler’s principles for decades, and are making a positive difference in the lives of young children worldwide.

With your support we can continue to provide scholarships for our trainings. Donations are 100% tax deductible.

PLUSA believes that when we educate ourselves on how to better serve our very young, we will succeed in making this world a better place. In our Pikler® trainings both in USA and in Hungary, participants learn how to be respectful and caring with young children.

Can we count on your support today?

Thank you for your love and for helping us make this world a little bit kinder, one baby at a time.

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Life Lessons of a Hair Bow

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity.” -Isaac Newton

When observing at the center, our first question always is how is the child? Our observations tell us if the child is relaxed and in an emotional state of well being. It’s the most simple- often overlooked- interactions that reveal the most.

Like when a child loses her hair bow as she is playing.

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Social relationships help define development. Enveloped within a strong, secure attachment to a nurturing adult, this little one is refueled and better able to withstand the ordinary stress of daily life. And she learns.

Today we presented Life Lessons of a Hair Bow. What can we see the child learning?

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I am an active participant able to communicate with another who responds to my need

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I am valued by someone who will take the time to involve me fully in the learning process

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Being together in the process is pleasurable

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This is how a hair bow operates and holds my hair out of my eyes

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I trust 

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I belong

“The pleasure of being together is the most important thing.”- Anna Tardos

Within our infant community at the center, the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler (www.pikler.org) and Magda Gerber (www.rie.org) helps guide our daily practice:

https://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5018340.pdf

Upcoming Pikler® Training in the United States – Charleston, South Carolina

http://thepiklercollection.weebly.com/relationship.html

RIE® Basic Principles