ABOUT MAGDA GERBER
"I am a great-grandparent, but I remember clearly how I felt as a young mother of two small daughters -- confused, uncertain, and at times, overwhelmed."
- Magda Gerber
Preserving the legacy of Magda Gerber
Even some of our fondest memories fade with time. There are images, words, spoken ideas, and details of a person’s life that give insight into their way of thinking. For those who did not have a chance to meet and work with Magda Gerber, we hope the contents of this website will help to fill in the gaps of information about her work and who she was.
The purpose of this site is to preserve in original form the expressions of wisdom and teachings of Magda Gerber.
We will continue to add to the contents of this site. With the help of those who knew, worked, or studied with her, Magda’s legacy will be shared with the world.
MAGDA GERBER, A TIMELINE
How it all started
Magda Gerber was born in Budapest, Hungary, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Educated at the Sorbonne in France with a major in Languages. A skilled communicator, she spoke four languages fluently: Hungarian, German, French, and English.
Strong faith in her own convictions
Respect for others’ ideas and abilities
Married Imre Gerber
Imre was at a dinner at Magda’s parents’ home. He instantly fell in love. They were married within a few months.
BECOMING A PARENT
Magda felt unprepared for the challenges of parenthood.
Friends and colleagues
A pediatrician, Dr. Emmi Pikler, making a home visit changed Magda’s perspective on parenting.
Working with Dr. Pikler
Magda and Dr. Pikler worked together at the Loczy Institute in Budapest and quickly became close friends.
After the Hungarian Revolution, Magda’s family came to the USA and settled in Los Angeles.
Magda and Imre purchased a house that later became the home of Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).
Demonstration Infant Project (DIP)
Magda and Dr. Tom Forrest worked together at the Palo Alto Children’s Health Council formed DIP (Demonstration Infant Program) which was a seed of ideas for RIE. Magda flew from LA to the Bay Area each week to work with Tom, parents, and infants. Together they demonstrated the parenting and caring ideas Magda adapted from the institutional environment at Loczy for parents and caregivers in America. (This program was notable because it was the first to include at-risk babies and sought to prevent problems.)
Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) is formed
With support from friends, RIE was formed in the lower level of Magda’s house. Starting with Parent-Infant classes, taught by Magda with help and support from friends.
Your Self Confident Baby
Close collaboration between Magda and Allison Johnson resulted in the first book about Magda’s philosophy about parenting and caregiving.
“Our mother loved water. Pools, lakes but most of all the ocean. When she had a little time off from her busy schedule, she would drive to the beach, jump in the water and swim out far enough for lifeguards not to bother. She would swim, float on her back, and sleep, frolic just like a porpoise. Her joy was life-affirming.”
- DAISY Gerber
Magda's passion for
reading & writing
Magda Gerber was a passionate advocate for both children and parents. She found a new way to see infants and modeled for parents and caregivers a method that makes educating and caring easier and more enjoyable.
We've curated a few classics for you...
Do babies need to be taught to walk? Sensory motor development happens as the first stage of the intellectual learning of babies. In many cultures, people have been led to think that unless infants are taught they don’t learn. All “normal” children learn to walk. Gross motor development happens naturally when an infant has plenty of space to move in a safe, age-appropriate, and challenging environment. When allowed to move freely and without interference children learn to move gracefully and securely and, through endless repetition and practice, they become well-balanced.
“Wants Nothing” Quality Time: just floor-sitting, being available, being there with all the senses awakened to the child; watching, listening, thinking of only that child.
“Wants Something” Quality Time: when you do have a goal to accomplish something together, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, etc. You can make sure the child knows that this time is different from your “Wants Nothing” time by actually saying, “Now I want to diaper you,” or “Now it’s time to get dressed,