Tag Archives: caregiving

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

Picking Up the Baby

A video demonstration with the Primary Caregiver transitioning her infant from sleep to being on his own. Note the pace of the transition, how the baby’s spine is supported, and how she gently lays him on his back releasing his head last. All along, the infant is connected, supported, present and included in the process as he moves from one activity to the next.

“Physical Security Equates to Emotional Security.” -Anna Tardos

Diapering the RIE way Supports Early Literacy

When one observes closely a baby being diapered the RIE way the idea that interchange could support early literacy takes root.  Did RIE Founder Magda Gerber see this correlation between reading readiness and diapering?

Taking a look at Magda’s segment on the topic in her book Your Self Confident Baby:  How to Encourage Your Child’s Natural Abilities- from the very start one gets a feel for her ideals in regards to  importance of diapering.  She often reminded us that a baby gets a diaper change six or seven THOUSAND times from birth until she learns to use the toilet on her own.  We might as well make the most of this learning opportunity.

Toileting, like reading, requires the active participation of the child- the key being cooperation. Interestingly, if you replace the idea of diapering with that of reading when Magda describes the RIE Approach to Cooperation in Diapering on pages 69-70 in Your Self Confident Baby you come up with:

Cooperation in reading is especially helpful because children go through periods where they don’t like reading and they resist it.

 It can be frustrating trying to teach a child to read.

Let’s take a look at a child being diapered the RIE way – what do you see?

Communication

Preparation

Cooperation

Anticipation

Comprehension

Completion

I asked our Montessori and Orton-Gillingham certified Primary Director to identify some skills sets which helped her facilitate the reading program for our preschool and Kindergarten aged children.  Her list includes:   understanding of relationships (what goes together), motivation, focused attention span, visual ability and tracking, persistence, patience, delayed gratification, and normally developed spoken language skills.

These same skills sets can be involved when diapering the RIE way- attributes essential for early literacy.  We think so.