EMMI PIKLER'S GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Dr Emmi Pikler lived and found her life’s purpose, working with infants in her homeland of Hungary. Pikler, a pediatrician, took over the running of a home for children (Known as Loczy) in Budapest in 1946. She mentored various educators and carers, including Magda Gerber who took Pikler’s philosophy to the USA and introduced it there.
Pikler set an example that the world is just beginning to understand and wakeup to. She knew that in order for babies to develop in the way that nature intended, certain things need to be heeded.
Full Attention especially when involved in the caring activities. We do not show respect to our babies when we multi-task. 100% full attention focuses us in such a way that babies receive and interpret as the embodiment of love. It also brings a stillness to lives which have become overwhelmed with speed.
Slow Down, over stimulated babies are often fretful, and their caregivers then become stressed. Creating calm around babies is relaxing, as well as peaceful – and allows them to be in an environment where their ‘unfolding’ can take place respectfully.
Build Trust and your Relationship during Care Giving Moments. Pikler believed that parents and caregivers need to take time to make nappy changing, feeding, bathing, and dressing unhurried and pleasant. It should be quality one on one time with the baby being an active partner. Magda Gerber said “When you approach your baby with an attitude of respect, you let him know what you intend to do and give him a chance to respond. You assume he is competent and involve him in his care and let him, as much as possible, to solve his own problems. You give him plenty of physical freedom and you don’t push development”.
‘With’ and not ‘to’. Building a cooperative relationship with a baby requires that you work together on things. We tend to radically underestimate a baby’s willingness and capacity to act as active participants rather than passive recipients. This requires us to talk to our babies a lot more about what we would like to work with them on- being patient and allowing them time to respond.
Babies are never put into a position which they cannot get into by themselves. The reason for this is that they become trapped – and no longer free in their movement. In essence – a baby becomes a prisoner of their body. Pikler understood a myriad of positive outcomes of Free Movement when she said “Whilst learning to turn on the belly, to roll, creep, sit, stand and walk, (the baby) is not only learning those movements but also how to learn. They learn to do something on their own, to try out, to experiment. They learn to overcome difficulties. They become to know joy and satisfaction derived from this success, the result of their patience and persistance”.
Allow babies uninterrupted time for play. We don’t need to ‘entertain’ our babies because given a nurturing environment and freedom to explore, babies are quite able of entertaining themselves. Not only that, our ‘help and support’ may actually interfere with what they are doing and thinking. As they are playing uninterrupted by our interaction, they are experiencing independence and mastery of their world. It is here that the early beginnings of self esteem and confidence building is taking place.
Babies send us cues all the time, tune in respectfully. When we don’t “listen” to our babies the message we are sending them is “I know you have a message that you are communicating with me – but I’m ignoring it”. Since children eventually boomerang everything back to their parents that they have received from them – you can imagine where this may lead in a baby in four or fourteen years time.
Inspiration from Reggio Emilia Schools
THE VIRTUES PROJECT
The Virtues Project was founded in Canada in 1991. It was honoured by the United Nations during the International Year of the Family as a “model global program for families of all cultures”.
The Virtues Project is a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life, sparking a global revolution of kindness, justice, and integrity in more than 100 countries.
The Virtues Project empowers individuals to live more authentic meaningful lives, families to raise children of compassion and integrity, educators to create safe, caring and high performing learning communities, and leaders to encourage excellence and ethics in the work place. It has inspired and mobilized people worldwide to commit acts of service and generosity, to heal violence with virtues. Virtues are more basic than values. All cultures honour virtues such as courage, love, honesty, loyalty, excellence and service, yet they apply them differently according to their own diverse value systems. The strategies of The Virtues Project help us all to remember who we really are.
What are the Virtues? Love. Kindness. Justice. Service. Virtues are the very meaning and purpose of our lives, the content of our character and the truest expression of our souls. For people of all cultures, ethnicities and beliefs, they are the essence of authentic success.
Virtue means power, strength, inner quality. Virtues are the content of our character, the elements of the human spirit. They grow stronger whenever we use them. As a six year old once said, “Virtues are what’s good about us.”