BROWSE BY Category: Consistency

Thoughts on a Madge Gerber Night

Madge Gerber met with a group of us at Queen of Angels Hospital. She discussed how to raise children gracefully without the stifling smother-love. Ms. Gerber showed us two mind-blowing films. “How Wonderful It Is To Bathe” showed a careperson bathing children while maintaining a constant, cheery, loving dialogue with each child. Like a fine piece of choreography, it had a kind of ritual to it. The children knew what the washcloth and soap were for, and, while the babies anticipated each step – were obviously cognizant of everything that was happening and was going to happen (we saw babies barely old enough to sit up and reach their arms to the woman to help her soap their tiny bodies) the older children (2 & 3 years) already held their own in this bubbly ballet.

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Discipline is Learning and Nurturing Combined 

Children, like adults, need rules and guidelines. I conceptualize discipline as being a system based on and facilitative of mutual respect among family members. We could easily exchange the word ‘discipline’ for the word ‘educaring’—they are both a combination of learning and nurturance. The goal is inner or self-discipline, self-confidence, and joy in the act of cooperation.  

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Biting

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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Discipline

A positive goal to strive for when disciplining would be to work at wanting to have children we not only love, but in whose company we love being. Lack of discipline is not kindness, it is neglect. Give yourself the same respect you give your children, that teaches the children respect for you also. Structure, expectations, predictability — all add to responsibly raising and loving our children.

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Intro to Madge Gerber and Cara Wilson

Cara, you asked me to explain why I keep telling you parents how much easier you could raise healthy “happy” children if you would make outdoor living a regular habit for your babies. Why? Because babies thrive out of doors, they sleep better, eat better, look better, play better, and learn better

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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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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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