BROWSE BY Category: Basic trust

How Can We Help Them Learn To Share?

Sharing is based on the knowledge of ownership and use. The owner lets someone else use an object with the knowledge that it will be returned later. But the infant also has no concept of time. Only “now” exists. Even two minutes may seem like forever. We cannot expect a young child to perceive what sharing means.

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Tis the Season To Be Jolly

I needed an upper in the tra-la-la swing of things. I called up Madge. I asked her about hopelessness. How can you feel ‘up’ after knowing what you know surrounds you? Madge understood my despair. She answered in a voice that was rich with Hungarian vibrato. “Wars? Violence? Cara, I cannot stop them. I don’t like to picket. What I do, what I like to do most is help parents and infants not make that much violence. When I am depressed all the world’s sad things get to me. And when my spirit gets high, I suddenly see all the many goods. My feelings are my prism. The world is exactly the same, but when I feel high – feel good about myself, then I can cope with it. I try not to be overly upset by things I cannot change. Look, Cara, it is much easier to give to the world, but to give to one person is harder yet.”

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Biting is instinctual. While in early infancy biting is rather exploratory, toddlers bite when frustrated, angry, or tired. If I have to deal with a chronic biter, I must use a sensitive but strong strategy. Both ‘victim’ and ‘aggressor’ need to feel that the adult is in charge and can protect them. I say to the biter, calmly but firmly, ” I will not let you bite any child or big person. If you feel like biting, here are things (teething rings, rubber or plastic objects, etc.) you can bite.”
I watched him very closely in order to predict what would trigger his aggressiveness and prevent him from doing it. I would hold him firmly but not punitively, telling him that I would not let him bite and that he needed to learn to trust me.

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Thumb or Pacifier

Sucking is an instinctual need and adults have an instinctual rather than objective reaction to it. Throughout history thumb-sucking has aroused strong feelings. It was called a bad habit and was blamed for producing protruding teeth and a disobedient, withdrawn or insatiable child. The pacifier is a plug. It does stop a child from crying, but the question is, does an infant have a right to cry? Should an infant be allowed to express her feelings and communicate them. By plugging her mouth, the message given is, “Don’t do what comes naturally. Do what pleases me, your parent.

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Can too much love spoil my child

Can too much loving spoil my child? – “Love? No! But many ways of demonstrating love? Yes! The list would be endless to tell all the atrocities both physical and emotional that adults inflict upon children in the name of love. Even kissing and hugging may not always convey to a child that she or he is loved.

I will try to recall from my own experience what it feels to be truly loved by someone: It makes me feel good, it opens me up, it gives me strength, I feel less vulnerable, less lonely, less helpless, less confused, more honest, richer. It fills me with hope, trust, creative energy, it refuels me.

How do I perceive the other person who gives me these feelings? As honest. As one who sees and accepts me for what I really am; who objectively responds without being critical; whose authenticity I respect, and who respects mine; who is available when needed, who listens and hears, who looks at and sees me, who shares herself, who cares.

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First Dear Magda Artice

“I often feel insecure because I am unsure whether what I am doing with my child is right or wrong. What can I do to help my baby feel secure, self-confident and relaxed?”

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On Loving

If one were to list all the cruelties and maltreatments, both physical and emotional, that parents and adults inflict on children under the guise of love, the list would be a long one. But, going beyond such sinister examples, even kissing and hugging may or may not convey to a child that he is loved. 

Love is a feeling, an emotional state. Artists, writers, philosophers, poets have tried to define it. Marcel Proust says, “Love is space and time measured by the heart.” What is space and time? It is the here and now. It is you. 

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Defining Educaring

What are the infants’ needs, beyond those for food, rest, warmth and hygiene? Most people would respond with the following: love, as demonstrated by rocking, fondling and body contact; and cognitive stimulation as demonstrated by an abundance of objects, teaching materials and lesson plans. These needs have become largely accepted and most centers try to meet them in different ways.

To attain a balance between adult stimulation and independent exploration by the infant, we focus on two areas of the infant’s life: the time spent with the adult who cares for the infant and the time the infant spends alone freely exploring his environment. Only a child who receives undivided attention from his educarer during all routine care-giving activities will be free and interested to explore his environment without needing too much intervention of the educarer. If the educarer understands that the infant needs both concentrated attention while being cared for and time to explore alone, she (he) also gains time for herself (himself).

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Dear Magda

Original RIE Manual

Learning and Teaching

Teaching is not a separate function. It is an everyday life experience. (Read How Children Learn [(1967)] and How Children Fail [(1964)], by John Holt.)

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Magda’s Writings

Magda Gerber’s Basic RIE Principles

Respect is the Guideline of RIE’s Philosophy. The Educarer shows respect, for example, by not picking up an infant without telling him beforehand, by talking directly to him, and not over him, and by waiting for the child’s response. 

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