I've blogged before about basic trust in the child as an initiator. This is one of the main ideas behind the RIE approach, but it's definitely not the only one. Another focus of RIE is encouraging the freedom to explore and interact with other infants. This is something that has become more of a focus in the classroom lately. We have begun to lock eyes with one another more often, to smile at one another more often, and sometimes we even play with the same toy together. For instance, this morning at drop off AS knocked over our stacking tower and both she and LC began to explore the separate pieces of the tower together.
There is a lot of importance in these interactions. It helps the children along their journey to become authentic individuals. Interaction fosters awareness, cooperation, attentiveness, and many more traits. The freedom to explore promotes confidence, curiosity, and self-directed behaviors. All of these traits help a child to have exactly what RIE strives to see: "an authentic sense of self and lays a foundation for secure relationships, enduring curiosity, and lasting self-confidence" (Resources for Infant Educarers).
The way that we interact together will change over time as we change, but the freedom we have to explore will remain consistent. At Tumbleweeds this freedom to explore is very ingrained in what we do. It's the backbone for how our classrooms are set up, how we approach the children, and how we build curriculum. Even at our preschool house there is still time that is very much want nothing time. Want nothing" time is just being- as I mentioned in a previous post. It's a time where you can be with a child without anything needing to happen. No diapers to be changed, no meals to be enjoyed, no where to go, no reason to do anything in particular. This time is important for children as it build confidence in themselves and helps them to feel noticed and seen by you or their caregiver.
For more on RIE please visit the RIE website at: www.rie.org
For one childcare provider's view on want nothing time please visit: http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/attention/