My RIE Reflection Piece- Otherwise known as ‘The Wandering Mind of a Lost Educarer’
Here I am, sitting here with a blank piece of paper in front of me. Unable to begin. How do I put into words my feelings about my experiences in the RIE Foundations Class?
I have been back in Melbourne for nearly 4 weeks now. This whole time I have been eagerly awaiting the moment when my brain would tick over and I would know exactly what to write for my reflection piece. But I am still waiting!
This inability that I have to create something out of nothing, to put together an assignment without being given any restrictions, rules or starting points is something that I struggle with. I personally, can see that I am finding it difficult to think divergently when it comes to this open ended task and this makes me sad. My creativity has been unintentionally squashed throughout my education and I now need structure and guidelines when it comes to completing a task. As an educator I promise to cherish children’s creativity and try with all my might to help them hold onto it and embrace it.
Get to the point, Jenna! Firstly, it’s important to say that the RIE foundations course was amazing. I felt valued, empowered, supported, listened to and most importantly respected. The feeling of being part of an amazing and insightful group of people who are openly sharing about something that we all feel equally as passionate about, is a feeling that is impossible to describe. The list of words that I used to describe the way I felt about being a part of the class are exactly the words that I would hope children feel when they are under my care. Valued, empowered, supported, listened to and most importantly respected. Those are the feelings that I want to spread, the feelings of being seen, heard and respected, in every sense.
And this is what RIE oozes with.
For me, doing the RIE course validated and affirmed the things that were already in my heart. I am lucky enough to have been raised to believe in treating others with respect- because I was shown respect. I have always been especially sensitive when it comes to picking up on people’s moods, reading body language and sensing vibes from people. When it comes to infants, toddlers and young children I have always had an ability to put myself in their shoes and gage their emotional state. When my classmates spoke of the ‘new eyes’ that they viewed infants with after completing the course, I personally didn’t receive them. But I received the tools I needed to respond to the infant with the utmost respect and the information and skills to help share this with other people.
Through class group activities, demonstrations, discussions and videos of Madga Gerber as well as the Pikler Institute and Polly’s own personal video clips I was able to see it in action and apply it to different early childhood settings as well as parenting.
I must admit I was overwhelmed when I returned to Melbourne with this wealth of information that I was desperate to share. I was at a lost as to where to start. Polly and Maureen had said to start small and appreciate every success.
I thought back to the last day of the course when we each blindly chose a card with an inspiring word on it. The card I chose read ‘Justice’. I instantly connected it to my desire and urge to make change. Because infants deserve it, because early childhood workers deserve it, because parents deserve it and because society as a whole, NEED it.
The definition of the term ‘Justice’ is ‘fairness; rightness’. To do justice is to act or treat justly or fairly and to appreciate properly. In a day to day sense I would think that I act in fairness and rightness and treat children and adults justly, but the part that stands out for me is the part about ‘appreciating properly’ which is something that can easily be forgotten in a busy atmosphere.
My goal is to bring the RIE course to Melbourne, Australia. To be able to create a community of learners within Melbourne who can live and breathe RIE within their work with children and families would be amazing. This is now my over all main aim, something to strive for and work towards. My day to day aim will be to work in an early learning centre among infants to make RIE real for me and to help share my information gently with other carers and families. I will need to remember that each day that I work with infants in a respectful manner, I am making a difference.
I will never be able to thank Polly and Maureen enough for sharing RIE with me. They went over and above in creating a beautiful and respectful learning environment and delivered the course information in a real and meaningful way. I can only hope to one day be as wise as Polly and Maureen, overflowing with knowledge but still reflecting and learning with an open heart.