Here's my recent interview with Trevor Mattea from New Books in Education in which we discuss the importance of giving full vs. fractured attention, responding to a crying child, play objects and the importance of play -- and a whole lot more! If you'd like to hear about other upcoming interviews, events and workshops, join my list by signing up at the bottom of this page.
More than 30 years ago, RIE® Founding Director, Magda Gerber, said, “Children need time to explore and figure out the world around them.” Although most of us would agree with her statement, there is a significant number of babies who are over-scheduled, exercised, and taught rather than being allowed to develop and discover at their own unhurried pace. Push-down curriculum doesn’t begin in nursery or elementary school; it often starts in infancy. What’s the hurry? Babyhood should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Nowadays, life moves so quickly and trying to keep up with changes in the digital age is humanly impossible. Yet, there is a growing conversation about how to find ways to slow things down and live a less complicated life. Yet, even with this awareness, it still remains countercultural to create and maintain a simple, unhurried life for a baby and to allow him the time to discover things on his own. If we consider the profound growth and learning that takes place in the first two, short, years of a child’s life –coming to know and trust those who take care of him; laying on his back to balancing in an upright position; palming objects to [...]
When we sit back and observe babies, we notice how tenacious they can be. They accept a certain degree of struggle when they play and don’t give up as quickly as adults might assume. This tenacity can diminish, however, when adults routinely move in to help at the first sign of struggle. A young baby is lying on her tummy stretching to reach a play object that is just beyond her grasp. Because she’s not crawling yet, she can’t move toward the object. We might observe this baby and think to ourselves that she is struggling (woe for the baby!) or we can observe that she is trying to figure out how to reach the object – she is trying to problem-solve, just as a scientist would. As a results-oriented adult, it can be difficult to watch and not hand the object to the baby. After all, if she’s reaching for the object, isn’t the goal to actually grasp it? You might feel incredibly impatient and frustrated. But what if, for the baby, the joy of movement – of stretching and reaching toward the object, articulating her fingers and stretching her legs and toes – is just as important as [...]
Have you ever found yourself feeling sad or angry and unsure why or when it began? How many people are anxious, conflict-avoidant, or depressed? For some people, “big” feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration can be overwhelming and their first response is to try to squelch or outrun them. What happens when we do? We may eat too much, drink too much, or find ourselves sad, angry, or depressed. We may develop physical ailments like back problems, ulcers, or insomnia. How we express our emotions and the ease with which we do so is largely determined by how we were responded to by our parents when we were young. When you cried or expressed anger, did your parents respond empathetically, or did they ignore, censor, or try to distract you from your feelings? Were some feelings permissible and others not? Were you allowed to express yourself for a certain amount of time, but once the clock ran out, you’d hear some version of, “That’s enough!”? As Daniel Goleman points out in his book, Emotional Intelligence “… entire ranges of emotion can begin to be obliterated from the repertoire for intimate relations, especially if through childhood those feelings continue to be [...]