Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Respect – It Starts at Birth


Tuesday 16 August 2016

We not only respect babies, we demonstrate respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.
Magda Gerber

This quote resonated with me when I first heard it, especially the word ‘object’. Did I do this, I asked myself, did I treat babies as objects? It was this question that started my journey into the philosophy of RIE – Resources for Infant Educarers. It’s a philosophy that has significantly influenced my professional practice and work, profoundly changing my day-to-day interactions and relationships. I now respect, watch, listen and trust – valuing more the unique and precious time that is the early life of a child.

Magda Gerber’s philosophy can guide and influence early childhood settings through the principles of trust, respect and relationships. How does this practice look when we focus on respect when interacting with babies? The answer is simple: if I wouldn’t like to be treated that way myself – then I don’t do it.

Do you ever blow a baby’s nose without warning? Do you ever wipe a baby’s face or remove a baby from their play without asking permission? Have you picked up a baby without interacting with them in advance? I had done all these things regularly. That is until I began to see babies with new eyes and considered how I would feel if somebody approached me and did the same thing - wiped my nose or face, imposed on my personal space without warning or acknowledgment? Caregiving times became more meaningful and shared as the baby became more involved, encouraging even the tiniest infant to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient of every activity.


My questioning and language became more considered as I truly acknowledged each baby - ‘I see your nose is running, can I help you blow it?’; ‘I can see you are busy playing, but I do need to change your nappy, I’ll come back in a few minutes’; ‘I can see you are upset would you like a hug?’; ‘I can see you want to climb but it’s not safe here, you can climb over here’. By asking for permission and acknowledging a baby’s feelings and desires, we send that message that respect should not be something that is earned, respect should instead underlie every interaction. When we ask permission we reinforce our understanding of babies as capable and confident individuals; our relationship deepens.


Further Reading:

To read the second post of this series, 'Trust - their own way, their own time', please click here


What are your thoughts? How does the quote resonate with you? What does respect look like in your baby room? How do you put respect into action during caregiving times? Let us know in the comments box below. 

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) conversations(1) Early Years Educators(3) Awards(2) baby room(1) democratic citizens(1) environments(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Advocacy(1) continual professional development(1) scéalta(51) Covid response(2) Xbox(1) Culture(2) play stories(2) Leaders in Practice(1) National Holiday(1) creche(1) Shapes(2) Kids Own(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) structure(1) Love(3) online training(1) Fabric(1) interacting(2) educating(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Our Little Seed(1) Sustainable(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Socioemotional development(1) Online Research Symposium(1) Workplace Relations(3) Settling in(4) pablo(1) Ceremony(1) Research Conference 2019(1) EECERA 2016(1) trust(4) Irish(1) Study Trip(1) play therapy(1) Document Learning(1) Favouritism(1) Santa(2) Small World Play(1) Irish guidelines(1) Inspections(1) DES Inspection(1) CPD(1) PIP(1) Care routines(1) Maria Montessori(1) Treasure(1) SAC(1) outdoor environment(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) COVID-19 landscape(1) pets(1) keezy(1) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Professionalisation(5) Síolta(132) stories(3) MECPI(1) Playdough(1) worries(1) Challenges(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Pretend Play(1) play(35) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) ECEC(3) conference(1) Inter-generational(2) Party(1) Empathy(1) dublin(2) Decisions(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Design(1) budget(1) College(1) Teamwork(1) Syria(1) linc(1) preschool(4) Valerie Gaynor(1) Supernanny(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Mealtimes(1) Engineering(3) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Buddy Bench(1) GDPR(1) Visual Impairment(1) Workplace well-being(1) parents(6) science(3) Confident(1) Social Skills(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) behavioural science(1) child-centred approach(1) Snakes(1) Digital(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Early Years(1) Book Club(2) ECEC Setting(2) Time(1) Trade union(1) Community involvement(1) Wilenski(1) Pen green(1) Qualifications(1) Children's Research Network(1) Pobal(1) Meet the Members(1) Wendy Lee(3) Afghanistan(1) children’s learning(1) Eritrea(1) Rich Documentation(1) Light table(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Spiders(1) experience(1) Positivity(1) Playschool(1) Games(1) babies(7) books(4) World Health Organisation(1) learning(19) gender stereotype(1) Craft(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Music(3) Arithmetic(1) early childhood educator(2) Touch(1) gender bias(1) Thank you(1) democracy(1) Academics(1) lockdown(1) Mayo(1) Scents(1) Building Resilience(1) Vietnam(1) Awards Night(1) Research Seminar(1) community(5) research(6) Engineering Ireland(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Self-Esteem(1) Mo Scéal(1) Budget 2020(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Trigonometry(1) Covid pandemic(2) AsIAm(2) Frustrations(1) emotions(2) Reggio Emilia(2) UN(1) NAEYC(1) Mental Health(4) St. Patrick's Day(1) risk(2) Youtube Series(1) Mount Everest(1) preschool settings(1) Running(1) documentation(4) The Jelly King(1) story time(2) Valentine's Day(3) staying connected(1) Mixed age groups(3) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Vertical grouping(1) relationships(18) Infectious diseases(1) Snack Time(1) Body Language(1) Mark Twain(1) Time Out(1) Trick or treat(1) Independence(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Exploratory Play(1) Leadership(1) Sustainability(3) Scéalta Book Review(1) Employee(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Quality(4) Fantasy play(1) Early Childhood Ireland(7) Dr. Emer Ring(1) communication(4) Scéalta Blog(103) Children(4) Sweets(1) Drawing(2) Inspirational(2) Creativity(5) Autism(4) code of professional responsibility(1) Hand Hygiene(2) ERASMUS+(3) Technology(3) Budget 2019(2) Malaguzzi(1) Shoes(1) purpose(1) refugees(1) Consent(1) Self-regulation(1) man up(1) overhear(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) Exclusion(1) Iraq(1) Gratitude(1) respect(5) Decision Making(1) Builders(1) Budget 2018(1) Death(2) E.coli(1) Wesco(1) Norway(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) Interaction(1) COVID-19(13) christmas(9) MA(1) apps for children(1) Funding(1) Bereavement(2) Awards 2018(3) dining(1) Change(1) Trade Unions(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Meal time(1) Visitors(1) Painting(1) Queues(1) Communications(1) CCTV(1) aistear blog(3) art of the relationship(1) risky play(2) learners(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Obesity(1) awards 2020(1) TOY Programme(1) Child Care(1) Sculptures(1) emotional well-being(1) Large Doll Play(1) Intention(1) imotion(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) early years learning(1) Covid19 crisis(1) Digital Devices(1) STEM(3) International Narratives(1) Behaviour(3) Effect of Lockdown(1) Whole Group(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Magic(1) Cognitive development(1) Albert Einstein(1) Traditions(2) eating(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Belonging(3) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Policy(2) Routines(2) Self Help Skills(1) Opportunities(1) Infection Control(1) Graduate(1) Confidence(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Montessori(3) family time(1) developing motor skills(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Performance Management(1) outdoor play(6) Italy(1) Environment(2) Laugh(1) Seanchaí(1) Childhood(1) Thanks(1) Potential(1) Weather(1) Window(1) Halloween(2) Mathematicians(1) Capable(1) Smiles(1) IGL(1) collaboration(1) HR(1) food(1) journey(1) First 5(1) keep in touch(1) annual conference(1) Easter(1) june29(1) Plastic(1) Reflective Practice(1) Elders(1) Performing(1) Loss(1) supportive environments(2) Sleep(1) Cork(1) Maternity Leave(1) Imagination(3) Inspired Practice Award(5) New Appointments(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Role play(1) Universal Design(2) Brain(1) Arts(1) RTE Investigates(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) reopening(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Identity and Belonging(4) Margy Whalley(1) Relaxation(1) Leprechauns(1) Snacks(1) Communicating(1) Celebrate(1) Reading Time(1) peer group(1) Exit interview(1) education(2) dining experiences(1) Feeding(1) reopening ireland(1) Mud kitchens(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Leargas(1) Competent(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Children's Voice(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Laughter(1) primary education(1) research submissions(1) learning hub(1) Fee Play(1) Arlene Forster(1) learning bias(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Penguins(1) Lego(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Recycle(1) Twitter(1) Japan(1) Stress(2) Inter-generational learning(2) Mantra(1) early years research(2) Loving Relationships(2) listening(1) Learning journals(1) risk assessment(1) development(8) Magnavacchi(1) blog(48) Annual Conference 2019(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Learning Stories(9) Event Guide(1) Certificate(1) Adoption(1) Awards 2019(1) Identity(5) Interests(1) ReCreate(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) reading(5) science week(2) outdoors(4) Equality(1) child-centric(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Health(2) National Childcare Scheme(1) Children and families(1) Wrapping paper(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) animals(2) Maths Week(1) Participation(2) memories(1) life long learning(1) National Awards 2019(1) childcare services(1) Aistear(128) Book Review(1) Learning Story(1) Thinking(1) Titles(1) racism(1) Summer(1) Gardening(1) Upcycling(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Map(1) Photographs(1) feisty(1) Engineers Week(2) mental health problems(1) National Awards 2018(2) iOS(1) Anthony Semann(1) Family(1) The Lullaby Book(1) DCYA(6) Plants(1) Pedagogy(2) Maynooth University(2) mushrooms(1) Your place(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Affordability(1) Treasure Chest(1) listen(1) Kilkenny(1) coronavirus(1) Ariana Pucci(1) maternity health(1) Storytelling(7) play pods(2) Nuturing interactions(1) Flowers(1) Breathing(2) Names(1) curriculum(5) COVID-19 Reopening(2) Síolta QAP(1) Counting(1) European Project(1) code of ethics(1) Patterns(1) children development(1) TRAP(1) Children's Rights(3) Buddies(1) Care-giving routines(1) youdoodle(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Exercise(1) Blocks(1) Reopening Childcare(1) ELC(1) Workforce(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) San Miniato(4) Horizon 2020(1) friendships(1) Traffic Lights(1) Sequins(1) dogs(1) School Age Childcare(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Nonverbal(1) Family wall(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Facebook(1) Administrative Burden(1) Pre-School Services(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Academic Skills(1) Learning Stories Award(3) healthy eating policies(1) show and tell(1) Oireachtas(1) Primary School(2) social science(1) Biting(1) Maths(6) Investment(2) Motor neuron disease(1) play pod(1) Support(1) bloom app(1) Celebrations(4) Orla Kenny(1) toddlers(3) UNCRC(2) Childcare(3) ECIAwards20(1) Glitter(2) Art(6) Prexit(1) First 5 strategy(1) Line-ups(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) grandchild(1) Iceland(1) EM Standing(1) routine(2) Return to Work Training(1) Early Years Education(1) SPICE Framework(1) Seas Suas(1) transitions(10) Educator of the Year Award(3) Recycling(2) Learning Journal(2) Appreciation(1) Kerry(1) CIT(1) educarer(1) ears(1) Exploring(1) University(1) EECERA(1) Sessional service(1) Limerick(1) Maynooth(1) Mindfulness(3) Reggio(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Interactions(3) social media(1) ICBN(1) Sport(1) movement behaviours(1) outdoor space(3) Educators(2) meals(3) Through the looking glass(1) early life(1) Winter(1) Child mental health(1) value(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Rituals(1) annual awards(1) Human Resources(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Jenga(1) Well-Being(10) Diversity(1) UNICEF report(1) Impact(1) Home Corner(1) Dance(1) Staff Motivation(1) phone apps(1) Siolta blog(8) bonds(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Learning through Storytelling(1) Grief(1) Early Learning and Care(1) planning(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) role playing(1) Nutrition(1) United Nations(1) Engagement(1) AIM(2) Online(1) curiosity(3) UD(1) Story(2) under 3's(3) Anxiety(2) Creative(1) Masterclass(2) inspiring interactions(1) Giraffe(2) Inspiring Practice(1) Wonder(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) INTO(1) early childhood(1) Yoga(1) Proceedings Journal(1) ECCE(7) Magda Gerber(1) Training(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) education system(1) responsive relationships(1) Degree(1) NCCA(3) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Graduation(1) Tuscan Approach(2) emotional environment(2) Inclusion(3) Little Buddies(1) RIE philosphy(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine