What is RIE?

RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educarers©. It is a technique used in the art of caring for young children. It provides guidelines on how to assess and respond to children’s needs in age appropriate ways. Its foundation is made up of a number of theoretical practice models, numerous clinical studies, and is steeped in over 60 years of practice experience. Put plainly, RIE is a simple, holistic practice that emphasizes respect for the child as a whole and valid person. RIE advocates that by treating the child as an intelligent individual, a parent or carer will learn from the child exactly what is needed to assist the child in becoming her/his best self.

img_0716In a society with relatively little experience in group caregiving, or established cultural practices to guide families and carers on how best to support children’s growth, RIE offers a very clear and well-founded technique to accomplishing just that. RIE shows us how to see the world through the child’s eyes and respond in kind, rather than teach by imposing adult realities on the child.

In our society, there are so many approaches out there for raising children. So much so that many parents and caregivers can feel overwhelmed by it all. While many caring methods out there tell adults how to handle children, whether they recommend you must carry the child around continually, keeping physical contact, or they say you must put the child down more and ignore her/him to set boundaries, RIE advocates for asking the child what s/he wants and needs. RIE makes the child the parenting guide for the adult, and teaches the adult ways of listening. This can easily be seen in the RIE principles:

  • Basic trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self learner
  • An environment that is physically safe, cognitively challenging, and emotionally nurturing
  • Time for uninterrupted play
  • Freedom to explore and interact with other infants
  • Involvement of the child in all care activities to allow the child to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient
  • Sensitive observation of the child in order to understand her or his needs
  • Consistency, clearly defined limits, and expectations to develop discipline

Source: The RIE Manual

To find out more about RIE, check out our Resources page. You can also check out our parenting class schedule, where you can sign up for a class and learn hands on what it means to do RIE through the LM method.