You know, I tell people that I learned about RIE backwards…20 years ago, I was completely brand new to professional child care. I was so green I didn’t even have my first 3 units of Child Development, but I was passionate about infant brain development and I lucked into a position in an infant room in a developmental pre-school.
I was delighted to get to play with babies all day, but a little stymied when I was told not to help babies sit up and walk nor allowed to hush and distract them when they cried…when I was told to sit back and just watch and to speak to children matter-of-factly. It felt strange at first, and yes, a little uncomfortable, but the thing is, I slowly began to realize that I was getting to know, really know, the children in my care, and my job was more magical and less work. I was hooked… I wanted to know more.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that the Educaring Approach is less about things to do or things to avoid…it’s less about what you say or don’t say…it’s a way of being with children. As Magda Gerber would say, it’s a whole new way of seeing children. It’s not merely something you do for a couple of years while your children are young, but it is something you start when children are young. Practicing RIE sets you up for a lifetime of connection.
To read a little more about my ideas about the Educaring Approach, please check out my article Begin as You Wish to Proceed…I think you’ll understand what I mean.