We are excited to welcome Dr. Christina Cohen back to Love Child. We asked her a few questions about her Parent & Child classes starting this month.
Let's jump right in. What is RIE®?
RIE® stands for Resources for Infant Educarers. It is a parenting practice founded by Magda Gerber in Los Angeles in 1978. It invites parents, nannies, or any care provider to interact intentionally. Attending RIE® classes helps parents develop an awareness of their child as unique, separate people.
What happens in class?
Parents are invited to sit in the periphery of the room, which has been thoughtfully organized with objects that invite age appropriate exploration. In a group of six to eight people, we quietly observe what happens when we allow children to follow their innate curiosity without adult direction or interruption. Some parents say it feels meditative.
Magda Gerber often told parents that they seemed to be working too hard. In class you are invited to sit back and let the child do their work of learning through play. Offering your attention and physical proximity is often all your child needs to engage in free play. Come to a class and see for yourself.
After about 15-20 minutes, we discuss what we saw. There is an opportunity to discuss the questions that often come up as a new parent. Questions like: Why are they crying? What do they need? How do I know if they are hungry or tired? For mobile babies, the questions evolve to: I worry when they fall. What do I do? They always want to be held, should I hold them? I worry that they don't share. How can I help? What do I do when they pull hair or bite?
Together we develop a broader context that can guide and answer the questions: How should I parent? What should I do?
But aren't there lots of different ways to parent?
Week after week in class, we not only develop a deeper awareness of our child, but of ourselves. This awareness helps us to see our child as separate from ourselves. As a new parent there are many inner critics; the fellow parent we compare ourselves to, our own mother or mother-in-law, or our inner perfectionist pressing us in a direction that doesn't always feel comfortable. With practice, participants uncover their authentic voice of what parenting means to them.
As mothers, we are pressed to care for others, to put everyone else's needs ahead of our own. In class, I find myself asking parents, "What do you want?" My classes are as much for the parents as they are for the children. I want to help parents uncover the joy that can happen when caring for their children.
Can a nanny or grandparent attend class?
I invite anyone who has an influence on the caregiving activities of the child to attend class. Some parents find that inviting the child's grandmother or nanny to attend class is the best way for them to learn about and support this new way of being with their child.
Why are there six weeks of class?
The Educaring® approach helps parents to see their children with new eyes. I find that once a parent learns a few concepts, they are hungry to learn more and practice it more fully. As the child grows and their needs change, the weekly class provides new information and continued practice. A typical Parent & Child class series is 10-12 weeks, starting when the child is about two months old and continues consecutively until the child is two or three years old. This creates consistency for both the child and the parent. The predictability provides a safety that influences the child to more fully engage in their environment and helps the parents to openly share their questions and concerns.
What if I can only attend one or two classes?
In this introduction course at Love Child, we are offering a drop-in rate for those who can only attend a class.
What is the goal?
Through the principles of RIE® (listed here) you learn how to practice trust and respect with your child. This has a feedback loop, teaching your child how to trust and respect you and others in their life. Magda promises that the Educaring® approach isn't just about raising kids you love, but "in whose company you will love being."
Wonderful. Sign up happens here
I look forward to meeting you and your child in class.