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Trust – their own way, their own time


Tuesday 13 September 2016

In this post I revisit some thoughts around Magda Gerber’s RIE philosophy, and discuss how trust can influence practice. RIE, pronounced wry, stands for Resources for Infant Educarers and encourages us to see infants as capable and competent.

As Magda Gerber says, ‘All babies accomplish milestones in their own way, in their own time.’
Trust forms the basis of all respectful relationships. A child flourishes when we trust - when we approach their learning around what they can do, not what they can’t do. In practice this means that we give them freedom to define how they play, avoiding our own preconceived notions of what they should be doing. We allow them to lead their play, we allow them to ‘be’. When we give choice, we nurture a baby’s competence. Babies are extremely competent, they are initiators and explorers, but all too often they are thwarted in their efforts to develop and extend a skill. Babies require help but they are not helpless. When we interfere less we allow babies to tap into their creative selves, to problem solve and drive their own interests. As educators we are facilitators of their exploration, but they must be the drivers.

How does trust look in play? Within a safe environment we trust babies to play where they want, we don’t force them into activities or experiences. We provide calm surroundings that are not overstimulating – letting babies reach things instead of placing them into their hands. We trust that they will initiate their play.

So let’s trust more and slow down, focus on the individual and let them get there at their own natural pace.


Further Information:
Please click here to watch Early Childhood Ireland’s Dr Carmel Brennan interview with Alison Gopnik at EECERA: “Science suggests that school should be more like preschool”

What do babies think? - Alison Gopnik, Ted Talks - Click here to view.

To read the first post in this series 'Respect - It Starts at Birth', please click here


In your baby room what qualities of learning do you observe? Begin to list the qualities you observe in the babies you are working with: focus, persistence, curiosity, cooperativeness, awareness…

Is your baby room a relaxing environment? How might you slow down more?

Please do share your ideas below. 

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