Tag Archives: Pikler

Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in a Daycare Setting

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The Interview Process

The process of recruiting and training the next generation of early childhood providers can be both the most exhausting and the most rewarding part of our profession. Often we hear, “I love children” from those considering entering the field. But do you know why you love being with children?

While loving the company of children provides a good start, a child in your care will demand much more from you. Working with groups of children in an institution requires the caregiver be well-versed in state laws and regulations ensuring each child’s health and safety. It may require hours on your feet, squatting, or on your hands and knees. At times, you’ll scrub dishes, wipe up floors, catch all the latest viruses, be covered in poo, deal with upset parents- or worse, upset co-teachers. The best early childhood teachers maintain a strong inner presence and calmness through all of this, modeling peace and security towards those in her presence.

They are aware of every child even as they are fully present with an individual in need. Teachers must have the ability to collaborate with other teachers who have a varied belief system regarding children. And they must respectfully communicate and partner with an even larger group of parents, grandparents and family friends all wanting what is best for a child. Through the course of their time spent working with young children, the early childhood professional will be challenged physically, emotionally and cognitively to balance her many duties in supporting the well-being of what is, at first, a stranger’s baby. And she must do this within a social culture seemingly having little care for her profession with long hours, little benefits, and minimal pay.

Amy

When you find someone that has the character and capacity to do all of that, well- that’s exciting.

And also a little dreadful. Will they make it? Next to the fast food industry, child centers have one the highest rates of employee turnover.

In introducing new providers to respectful caregiving in a daycare setting, our first step is being honest with the requirements of the profession. We spend considerable time together at the onset ensuring that new teachers have the information they need to make an informed and honest decision. This is a matter of utmost importance for especially in these early years, young children need to rely on the adults in their lives. The caregiver must be there today and tomorrow. And teachers must be provided the support and tools to ensure each child within the institution feels accepted, valued, safe and free to learn.

Recently, our center went through a tough spell along this process with an unprecedented amount of new teachers leaving after only being with us a short bit. It has caused us to do some soul searching and revisit our introductory time together with teachers new to our center community.

Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in Daycare Settings must involve first, the interview process. At the center, we include the following in the process:

  1. First contact: the interview process begins by placing a carefully worded job description for potential candidates. Resumes are reviewed with an emphasis placed on where applicants are spending their free time and studies. A central administrator contacts possible candidates and discusses in detail the center history, philosophy, position details, vision and how applicants can obtain more information online about our offering.
  2. Second contact: applicants meet with a school director and at least one other administrator (separately) and have an opportunity to share their beliefs on child development, long-range plans, and what they have learned about our program offering online. Not a good sign if they haven’t checked us out- in fact, if they haven’t done their own research, we will write down several links for them read or demonstrations to watch. This part of the process needs to occur prior to the third contact. After meeting, the two administrators get together to share notes.
  3. Third contact: if a candidate seems to be a good fit and has done some online research, we will move to the “third contact” during the same interview time as above. If a teacher has been asked to do additional digging and returns contact with us to pursue learning more, we will arrange a third interview. This process involves a tour and observation of the facilities- regardless of age, each candidate will have an opportunity to observe at each developmental plane infancy through 5K as the center is all connected. After sharing observations, candidates are asked if they would like to continue the process depending on their natural observational skills. At this time references are checked, necessary DSS paperwork gets completed, and paid training opportunities at the center become available on a part-time basis.
  4. Paid Observational Training: candidates begin their training at our center’s hub, the kitchen. The kitchen connects all of our environments for the way we share meals with infants and young children is an integral part of our curriculum. Side-by-side administrator, co-teachers, and school owners wash dishes, prepare meals, and attend to the laundry. Here we have an opportunity to connect with the many adults comprising the center faculty. Each has an opportunity to share personally and professionally and candidates are able to contribute to the workload without yet directly working with the children. In the classroom, new teachers warm-in slowly tasked with observation, note taking, and environment preparation.

This interview process takes at least one to two weeks. At the close of the observational training, we meet again with new teachers to discuss the experience. The last question being, “Are you interested in making this work part of your profession?” with an emphasis on it being a one to two year minimal commitment.

Mutuality
Photo: David Vigliotti

With a “yes”, we move onto the next phase of Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in a Daycare Setting- the internship.

We would love to hear how you recruit and retain early childhood professionals. What would you add to the above? What would you change?

Resources:

Recruitment Ad Sample

Daycare Turnover Research

 

 

 

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

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

Our Top 5 Baby Registry Items- and some items you won’t need

When first learning the value of free movement and simple play objects, parents attending the monthly New & Expectant Parent Class often remark, “I wish we had known this before registering for our baby shower.”

It’s true- much of what you’ll find on a traditional BABY REGISTRY is absent from parents following the Magda Gerber’s RIE Approach.  Savy parents know that in many regards, less is more, especially when it comes to healthy attachment and the early learning experiences of an infant’s developing mind.

Our favorite “must haves” for the RIE baby include:

1.  The LIE FLAT CAR SEAT

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Allow parents to safely transport their infant by vehicle without the worry of discomfort traditional upright infant seats pose when the baby lacks the maturity to hold her head upright on her own.  Extended stays in traditional upright car seats can pose physical discomfort for your infant’s developing body.

2.  The TOPPONCINO

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Assists in transitioning and transporting your young infant securely by helping keep the head and spine connected- critical as your baby is building trust and security.  When the head and spine are not connected during movement, it can cause your baby to startle- described by Anna Tardos of the Pikler Institute as a feeling of literally losing your head and coming apart.  Topponcinos should allow for free movement of your baby’s limbs (there’s no need to swaddle) and will provide the infant with additional warmth to boot.

3. The CROCHET BLANKET

ImageHelps parent enjoy a more worry-free baby rest time when your infant is at sleep.  Often during rest a blanket becomes bunched or is pulled over your baby’s face.  Crochet blankets allow for more air flow and invite your child to grasp with fingers and toes.

4.  The MOSES BASKET

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Offers  flexibility for parents with a lifestyle on the move- one that typically comes with multiple children.  The very young infant sleeps quite a bit and derives security from being able to have contact with his perimeter.  Car seats prompt a baby placing pressure on her lower extremities, while a Moses Basket lies flat and allows for more freedom of movement during rest.  It’s consistent and predictable when your schedule isn’t always, allowing your child to feel comfortable resting away from his crib and even outdoors.  As an added bonus, Moses Baskets make great doll carriers when your children have outgrown them.

5. The CLASSICAL MUSIC COLLECTION

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Soothes both child and parent when things seem to be getting hectic.  Some research suggests that when played periodically throughout the day (not constantly), classical music is beneficial to your infant’s developing brain.  Adults should be sensitive that an infant works hard trying to make sense of the new environment around him- sounds play an integral part in his decoding.  Plan for lots of quite time, access to nature sounds (open window our outdoors), and keep her room media-free.  If you do choose to play music, playing classical has proven to be the most beneficial.

You’ll notice an absence of toys and play objects.  Your baby’s first play object should by his hand and it’s not until “hand regard” that we might introduce simple everyday household play objects such as a scarf, ring, ball or lid.

We’ve also left out high chairs, swings, bouncy seats, carriers, pacifiers and the like.  These items not only inhibit free movement and self-regulation critical to your child’s developing brain, but also foster a dependency for them.

These are our favorites- what would you add to the list?

 * For more information on RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) contact http://www.rie.org