For those of you who knew, worked or studied with Magda Gerber, this site is an invitation to remember, share, and be re-inspired by her original words and teachings. For those of you who never had the opportunity to know or work with Magda Gerber, it is our hope that site might introduce you to her work and ideas, and serve as a resource in your parenting journey or your professional life, if you are working with babies, toddlers, and their families.
To that end, we are sharing Magda's original series of Dear Parent letters, as they first appeared in the quarterly newsletter, Educaring. These letters, written by Magda in response to parent questions, were eventually edited and published as part of a book.
Despite the fact that the letters were written as far back as 1979, the gentle wisdom contained within is as fresh and as relevant today as it was thirty years ago. We begin by sharing Magda's Welcome letter, which introduced the series and tells a bit about the history of Resources For Infant Educarers (RIE). It was originally published in the Winter 1979 edition of Educaring. To view all Dear Parent articles, please see Magda Uncut.
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 carers. 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, The R.I.E. Manual, 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! (@MagdaGerber)
We echo Magda's words in welcoming you to our site, and inviting your comments and participation.