Here at Tigers Childcare, we care and educate some of society’s newest members and with that comes great responsibility, one which we do not take lightly.
Did you know that 80% of the human brain has grown by the time we are just three years old? They don’t call them the incredible years for nothing and we at Tigers couldn’t agree more!
Our teams take great pride in the meaningful relationships they form with the children in their care and in the under 2 age group this is of paramount importance as we, the educators, are generally the first people outside of the family that the children come to know. In the beginning, educators spend invaluable time getting to know the babies, observing and gathering information about them to ensure their needs and wants are being met. In those initial weeks, respectful interactions and close observation are key to a successful settling in period and to forming those meaningful and lasting adult/child relationships.
What do respectful interactions look like in our Discoverers rooms, I hear you ask? Well, according to Magada Gerber, the founder of the RIE Philosophy, “We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object”.
So often young infants voices are not heard as they are treated as an “object” who have things done to them or for them and not in collaboration with them. We believe that even the youngest attendees of Tigers are confident and capable learners who are the best captains of their own ships and it is up to us as educators, to foster this own sense of knowing what is best for oneself through providing a strong foundation of reciprocal relationships and respect.
Our interactions are ones that are slowed down and not rushed or hurried where the babies have time to react to what is happening to them and to respond. Their body language is interpreted, recognised and respected as their voice and opinion of what happens to them – even if that means they do not want their nappy changed right now! The child’s individual rhythm is followed and plans are made to extend on their likes, strengths and interests. Our interactions use a “sports-casting” technique where we narrate and talk to the children all the time while interacting with them, asking permission before invading their space or moving their bodies. We use care routines as opportunities for , taking time to interact with the baby on a one to one level and creating a positive experience for the child who has our whole attention during this time. We speak to the infants in authentic voices, using real words spoken calmly and giving caution to volume and tone.
And finally, we offer the youngest of children appropriate choices throughout the day and respect the decisions that they have made for themselves.
These are just some of the ways in which we respect our young learners as they begin their journey at Tigers Childcare. Gerber says “We should educate while we care and care while we educate” and we believe we do this to a high standard for the Tigers babies, providing them with a respectful, positive and meaningful days.
~Author: Laura Sheedy~
Thank you to Tigers Ashbourne for allowing us to photograph their centre for our blog post.