Additional Influences

In addition to Magda Gerber’s RIE® Educaring® approach, I incorporate the wisdom of Magda Gerber’s mentor, Dr. Emmi Pikler, as well as insights from Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Education to these classes.

Dr. Emmi Pikler

I am inspired by Emmi Pikler to help promote healthy physical and psychological development in children. In addition to her overall philosophy, which is mirrored in the RIE methods, I appreciate the attention and support she gave to new mothers and babies. Our current society and support systems don’t provide for new families in the same way they did in Dr. Pikler’s time. A variety of professionals help play this role today — doulas, home visiting nurses. and I am glad to join in this work.

“Emmi Pikler was born in Austria and became well-known in Budapest (Hungary), as an excellent pediatrician in the 1930s. The children she took care of – nearly one hundred families – were less ill, and had hardly a major disease. As a pediatrician, however, she was more interested in promoting healthy physical and psychological development than in preventing or curing illnesses.

Her vision of a healthy infant was an active, competent and peaceful infant, who lives in peace with himself and his environment. She would visit infants and families weekly, discuss with the parents how to promote their development, based on their view of the child and her own observations, and provide guidance to mothers about upbringing practices and how to create an optimal facilitating environment for their infant.”

– by Anna Tardos, taken from The Pikler Collection

Read the entire article here.

Dr. Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, had great insight into the developing child. After RIE classes, my children have attended Waldorf schools and I have found there to be a deep relationship between the two approaches.  Steiner encourages us to support the developing child by creating a rhythmic home life and protecting the child’s developing senses. Most importantly of all, he asks us to become aware of ourselves so we can be worthy of our child’s unquestioning imitation.

“The first three years of our life are unique. The child is totally open and trustful towards the world, therefore dependent on how his/her needs are met. Care for the child under the age of three needs very specific qualities. It requires adults who are constantly striving to develop their soul and spiritual qualities.

By understanding and respectfully meeting the needs of the child we can consciously build up daily life. This understanding must penetrate our attitude and activity. The adult has to be aware of what it means to be a role model, because the child lives in imitation, as his/her main way of learning. It is important to develop a close and continuous attachment between the caretaker and the child.

Through conscious daily rhythm the child is guided into life, which should be based in authentic work. We also have to consider that a child needs plenty of time for exploring the outer world, meeting others, meeting himself, developing all the senses, especially the senses of touch, life, movement, and balance.”

— from the International Association of Waldorf Early Childhood Educators

Read more about Waldorf here.

Yvonne Kissell Doebler

This is my mother. She was a major influence on my parenting even though she died many years before I had my children. She was always there when I needed her and when I spoke to her, it was easy for me to get her full attention. She let me make my own choices and she knew she couldn’t fix everything for me, but she was there to support me, whatever happened.  I remember as a teenager talking about my adult plans, she commented  “All I ever wanted was to be a good wife and mother.” She meant that her goals were humble by comparison, but I increasingly feel that the goals she laid out for herself are under-appreciated in our world today, and to our own detriment. Her full attention and belief in my abilities gave me the self-confidence to leave the nest and pursue my goals out in the world.

Modern Child Development and Neuroscience

My previous career was spent in health sciences, and I very much appreciate how in the past 20 years, the world has begun to study babies and understand that babies are not “little adults” — they are human beings with their own needs, intentions and plans. Our understanding of babies is expanding so dramatically and the more we learn, the more in awe we are of their innate capacities, ability to learn, resilience, and inner wisdom. In our class, I love to bring in the latest findings in human development, attachment and regulation theories, affective neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology.