Greetings to all of you, members of R.I.E., and subscribers to After Birth. I feel like I am reaching out to a large extended family. Whether I do or do not know you personally, I assume the interest we have in common is the desire to improve the care of infants, whether it be in their own home setting, somebody else’s, or in a group care situation. There are, of course, many organizations, schools, classes, and publications professing the same goal, yet we believe there is a difference in the way we see the infant.
Historically, I was the same bewildered mother as many of you, although at a different time (decades ago) and at a different place (Hungary). When I met Dr. Emmi Pikler, her ideas seemed so natural, sensible, and simple that I tried to learn more about them. Dr. Pikler developed her unusual approach to caring for infants during the ten years she functioned as a private pediatrician to a few selected families in Budapest, Hungary. In 1946 she applied the same philosophy to infants without families raised at the National Methodological Institute for Residential Nurseries (Loczy) in Budapest. Her talents as a scientific investigator and a practitioner involved in the most minute details of the everyday care of infants make her sound approach both practical and believable.
Since my days with Dr. Pikler in Hungary, I have applied her philosophy to my work with infants in California. Our organization. Resources for Infant Educarers grew out of encouragement we received from parents and professionals who successfully used our philosophy and urged us to offer training to infant careers. In June, R.I.E. proudly offered two conferences on infant care, presenting Dr. Pikler as the featured speaker. In addition, we have consulted with infant programs, trained infant educarers, developed audiovisual materials, published the book Resources for Infant Educarers, and issued this newsletter. Our films: On Their Own With Our Help and The Way We See Them, are currently available.
It is my hope that this newsletter will become an open forum for communication and for the exchange of events of interest to us, such as conferences, courses, workshops, books, job placement, and other services which concern us as infant carers. Once we have enough people well-trained in our philosophy, we will establish model programs where the R.I.E. philosophy can be demonstrated. This can only be accomplished when enough enthusiastic people will give their time and talent. Let’s hear from you!