Still (Re)Learning

Last week I wrote about slowing down, which is an art…a practice, and it is one of the main elements of what we do in classes: for 90 minutes each week, we work on slowing down, seeing what happens, noticing what is going on for ourselves. It’s even built into the structure of classes in that there’s no hurry or expectation to learn all of this Approach all at once. Instead, the idea is that you learn organically, as it becomes relevant to you and your life. Over the course of your time in classes, you’ll learn the essence of the whole Approach.

And yet.

The longer I do this work, the more I realize that it’s like  peeling an onion , there’s always another layer. Even lessons I thought I’d learned look different from different places in my life. And last week I encountered another example of that. If you’ll recall (or  reread  – or  re-listen ), I shared a quote from Emmi Pikler about hands. I was talking about the power of our touch and the impact it has on children. It’s a quote that I’ve been reading or reciting now for, quite literally, 20 years… but as I stepped back after typing the whole thing out, I was struck by how much it reinforced my main point about slowing down: it talked about hasty and unquiet hands…impatience…and even included the statement “I’m going to be late!” I was struck anew by the emphasis on the adult’s speed: I felt like I was learning something new as I revisited a lesson I thought I’d already learned.

That’s not the only time I’ve re-learned a lesson I thought I already knew. The marvelous thing about being with young children is that you’re constantly learning and growing. And it’s one of the messages from Magda: “ideally, life is an ongoing learning experience, from birth till death.” She was talking about allowing children to do their own learning in their own time and in their own way…but it is true for us, too. Life is an ongoing learning experience, if we allow it to be.

The quote above is from Seeing Infants with New Eyes. It’s a classic RIE film and, like the Pikler quote, it’s one that I have watched dozens of times in the past 20 years. But I find that each time I watch it, something new sticks out to me simply because I’m in a different place in my life. It’s one of the joys I get from this work…just as babies learn in their own time and in their own way, I’m reminded to keep my mind open and keep learning, too.

When I created my website, I filled it with all of the emails I’d been writing since the start of covid…but getting them all online continues to be a work in progress! Which led to an a-ha for me…in the spirit of revisiting past lessons for fresh learnings, I will periodically be sending you previously unpublished articles…I’ll curate them around a theme, so they’ll read like a mini-digest. If you’re new to my newsletter, you’ll have the opportunity to catch up on ideas you’ve missed. If you’ve been on my list since the beginning, you’ll have the opportunity to reread them with a fresh perspective.

And so, here is your first mini digest. A little sampling of articles for you on things I’ve re-learned:

First (and this is one that I am so excited to re-share):  a reminder to use tarry time ! Say what I am going to do or ask for what I want to happen and then WAIT (tarry) for the child to understand before I use my hands. And you know who taught me? A 2-year-old!

Second: A fun, and super short, piece…all about how I was surprised to see a parallel between Youtuber  Mark Rober and RIE .

Lastly: Another  short blurb , reminding me that ‘best practices’ for older children are the same as the ones we practice as educarers of infants and toddlers.

I’d love for you to think about something you’ve had the opportunity to relearn…or learn about more deeply.