Change perspective. Change practice.
Over ten days in March, educators from around the country completed an intense RIE® Foundations workshop based on Magda Gerber’s world-renowned Educaring® Approach, delivered by RIE Associate Elena Marouchos.
“It all starts with reflecting on yourself. On how you are as a person and how you are with children.”’
This course, for educators who want to develop and deepen their understanding of infant development and care, is in high demand. We were delighted to have the opportunity
to speak with Elena Marouchos and some of the educators who attended.
“Once you’ve acknowledged how you are, and on yourself and your practice, then rather than rushing, you slow down even more. You see the world through new eyes and you take on the infant’s perspective.
The RIE® Foundations course covers gross motor, fine motor and social-emotional development of the infant – designing the environment – planning the curriculum – and issues in parenting.
The RIE® Foundations course changes an educator’s perspective and practice.
“Attending the RIE® course has been a rollercoaster of emotions… I had that mirror put up in front and I didn’t like what I saw. My biggest takeaway will be to suspend judgment, and I’ve been unpacking the meaning of the word ‘arrogance’ and how I bring that to work with me every day.” Bronwyn, Gowrie, Erskineville
“The way I felt two weeks ago has complete changed. These children are individual human beings. I am looking at the children so differently. I can see the details in their little lives. Before doing this RIE® foundations course, I would just see them as the whole person. The whole little person. Oh, yes, they need to be fed, changed or sleep. But I was just meeting their needs. Those routine, caregiving moments are so important. And when I really paid attention and I was listening, I was more attuned to them.” Emma, Orchard ELC
Adjusting practice. Adjusting tone. Adjusting touch.
“We adjust our practice and adjust our tone of voice and adjust our touch. So that when they leave our hands, they are leaving us with their emotional tanks full. So that they can enjoy time away and that I respect that uninterrupted time; that’s their time for learning,” said Elena.
“I had a big mind shift – changing how I perceive myself. How I look at children – and the relationships with the staff, children and families.” Shayla, Gowrie Erskineville
“The biggest change has been acceptance of child – for who they are and where they are. Accepting that I’ve been teaching for 25 years, but right now in this journey with RIE®, this is where I am, and this is potentially where I’m going.
I have a much greater awareness now than I had before.” Bronwyn Perryman, Gowrie Erskineville
“We are giving the children the competence back. We try so hard to do everything for them because they’re our babies – but we need to give their competence back so they can do it themselves. Them knowing we are there will be enough.”
“Infants and toddlers are our greatest teachers. They teach us to slow down. And to just be really, really present and not worry about what’s coming next. Be here with me right now. This is who I am. This is what I bring and this is the support I need right now. It helps you to become more open minded with your thinking.
I like how we are taught to unfold in a natural way, instead of having this busy society impact you … overstimulating your children’s brain because of the rush of everything and not having enough time for them to figure out at their own pace and able to let them lead for themselves instead of you making decisions for them.
I believe that a secure child is a child able to learn.
If this beautiful, competent child is able to develop naturally with good foundations, you would have a more competent child, and you would have more happy parents and you would have the whole new generation developing quite healthily, and that itself, is a contribution.” Lisa, Orchard ELC
“I think that the message we leave with children from the day they are born, if we treat them with respect and they come to know what respect is, they will hopefully know how to treat others with respect,” commented Elena.
“What’s really important is seeing the authentic child and really being respectful in your practices and your care for them.
So, it’s really about being consistent, being respectful and really observing the child and slowing down in your practices.
The benefit for the child is giving that child a sense of competency, of self-value, of self-worth and not viewing them as an object. So, by respecting and valuing that moment of care, you’re really saying to that child, ‘I see you, I hear you,’ and you are really letting them know that. You are building on the relationship with them and filling their emotional and social cup, which is so vital and important.” Emma (Mayfield EEC).
“It’s really highlighted the importance of critical reflection and really looking within and really unpacking some things that may trigger you in terms of how you care for children. It’s been a real reflection journey for me.” Emma (Mayfield EED)
“You’re really enhancing your own ability to critically reflect and to help others on their journey, and I think it’s invaluable.” Emma (Green Gables Kindergarten)
Sensitive observation and relationship building
“I’ve learned the importance of really looking at the child – of sensitive observation and uninterrupted play and the value of that and how important it is to really build the relationships with children.
You see them start to problem solve themselves and work out their own natural frustrations. You end up with better freedom of movement as well.” Emma (Green Gables)
Key caregiving moments
“What this course has really given me is confidence in my ability to empower the infant and the child - support their learning, and really value those key caring moments and giving them back the power. Not making it about ourselves. How to take a step back and create a really strong healthy relationship where we are consistent, and let the children blossom and grow and be active and competent in all aspects of the care and the day.” Emma, Mayfield
“I think this course is absolutely incredible because it gives you time and space to really reflect on your understanding and your practices and also how you view and see children. It makes you think deeply about what you do. I think it’s really highlighted to me the importance of that attention to details like your non-verbal body language and the importance of slowing down. It’s really just opened my eyes up to what I thought I was doing was respectful care for infants and it really wasn’t. This is really, next level high-quality care that infants deserve and I can’t wait to put it into practice.
And when you fully appreciate this new way of seeing babies, only then do you consider how to bring others along the journey.” Elena Marouchos
Gowrie NSW delivers face-to-face ten-day intensive RIE® Foundation Courses throughout the year. Register your interest today.
Topics: thought leadership