A collection of Magda’s essays, papers, and articles.
Many books, packaged programs, and infant curricula are available and used as prescriptions in infant programs. These often serve as guidelines or crutches to caregivers who may be inadequately prepared to meet the needs of infants or special children. The caregiver follows instructions to try to elicit a desired response to a prescribed stimulus in the area of gross motor, fine motor, social-emotional, and language developments. New skills are introduced to the infant — skills one step ahead of their development, skills they themselves cannot master yet. The adult’s attention is focused on teaching rather than observing children’s reactions to their environment and caregivers.
It is here I would like to talk about some of the similarities between Piaget’s thinking and our own at Resources for Infant Educators (RIE). First of all, both approaches are developmental – being much less interested in results than the actual process of getting from one milestone to the other. We are both interested in epistemology – or how knowledge is obtained. While working at Binet’s lab school in Paris, Piaget became fascinated by the children’s incorrect responses. From the nature of these responses, he was able to understand their thinking processes. And like Piaget, we at RIE believe that biological growth parallels intellectual growth.
If art is the product of a creative effort, then what art, what effort can be greater than the art of becoming; the creation of the self. All other products (painting, sculpture, music, dance, etc.) are only by-products of the self. Which are the experiences from the beginning of life that eventually culminate in artistic productions? When? How? And, why do we create art? Does dance begin with the feeling of the body in space, the kicking, rolling, stretching, jumping of an infant? Is the crying, cooing, babbling of the infant the forerunner of music? Does the feeling of sand, as the infant runs his fingers through it randomly, create his first design?