Frequently Asked Questions

What are your qualifications?
What does “RIE®-inspired” mean?
  • The play groups are based on Magda Gerber’s RIE® caregiving philosophy. You can learn more about my respectful parenting philosophy here.
  • The groups allow for free play in a space that is warm, welcoming, and interesting. We spend part of our time in quiet observation, watching the infants/toddlers play with minimal interruption. We then discuss our observations as part of a larger conversation about parenting and child development.
  • Throughout the play group, I also demonstrate “selective intervention” (modeling when and how to step in and help) for situations such as: big or uncomfortable feelings, holding boundaries, gross motor challenges, and peer interactions.
  • You will likely find these groups to be slow-moving, calming, almost meditative. This is intentional. As Magda Gerber said: “Do less. Observe more. Enjoy most.”
  • Input is welcomed and encouraged from everyone present, and I am available to answer questions, address concerns, and provide additional information about the RIE® philosophy or other areas of early childhood development.
What is the purpose of the play groups?
  • Connect with your child by observing their unique interests, skills, and challenges. 
  • Practice a “just right” balance of helping at times and letting children work things out on their own at other times (selective intervention).
  • Give time and space for your child to interact with others without an agenda. Instead, we offer free play in our beautiful space, with interesting objects and materials to explore.  
  • Connection with other parents and caregivers through conversation and supportive dialog.  
  • Have your questions answered and learn more about child development and parenting resources. 
Which group should I sign my child up for?
  • I group children mostly by mobility level (giving some consideration to age). I aim for the playspace to be developmentally appropriate for each cohort. 
  • Choose the  group that most closely matches your child’s current mobility skills. You probably also want to consider rough age range, nap schedule, social skills, and cognitive development. There is always going to be a bit of an assortment of abilities in each group and that’s great!
  • If you’re not quite sure, please reach out, and I can help!
Can my child’s younger/older sibling join?
  • Siblings are not able to join (with the exception of newborns up to about 3 months of age).
  • This is for a couple of reasons: One goal of the play group is for the parent to be able to spend one-on-one focused time with that child. Second, the play space is curated to be safe and interesting for that particular age/mobility group and is not necessarily appropriate for other ages.
Can I bring my partner?
  • Unfortunately, because we have limited space in our room, I am only able to accommodate one adult per child. However, if I know a family will be absent, I’m happy to have an extra visitor, so please reach out if you’d like someone else to join on a certain day.
What if I have to miss a class?
  • That’s okay! Just a reminder that refunds are given if I have to cancel a session but not for absences.
What if I’m late or need to leave early?
  • Both are totally fine! Life with a little one can be hard to plan, and we totally understand that flexibility is needed.
What if my child doesn’t want to be put down or explore on their own?
  • That’s okay! Sometimes it takes little ones several minutes or maybe even several classes to venture away from their safe person in a new space. If your child wants to be with you, allow them to be with you, trusting that they will venture out (or be comfortable being put down), when they are ready.
How do you handle conflict? What if a child takes a toy from another?

For the most part, I let them handle the conflict on their own, and I do not recommend interfering if a child takes a toy from another (unless someone is going to get hurt). This is for a few reasons:

  • Dealing with these smaller upsets of having a toy taken gives them practice (at a manageable level) of dealing with upset in general and helps with future disappointments. This also allows them repeated practice of deciding: “How strongly should I react to this?”,”Is this really a big deal or can I move on and find something else to do?”, “Is this a BIG problem or a little problem?”
  • When we are too empathetic or react too strongly to our child feeling mad/sad/etc. that gives them the impression that it IS a big deal, that these things shouldn’t happen, and that they can’t handle it. But they ARE capable of handling these frustrations (maybe with a little hug or empathy from an adult).
  • I want them to trust their own instincts (and adjust as they learn more) of how best to handle a dispute. In a conflict, if a child decides that letting go of the toy is the best option and they’re not (yet) feeling confident enough to challenge or hold on tight, it’s important that they (and WE) trust their instincts. They may still be upset about it (and we are definitely still there to comfort them!), and the next time they may feel more confident in holding on tight or standing a bit stronger.
  • Toddlers don’t need all, or even most, of their interactions mediated. In time, they will surprise us with their generosity, empathy, and flexibility. 

With all that said, I am very present and will step in immediately in any situation where a child is about to get physically hurt.

What if my child cries?
  • Respond to them and provide comfort or support. But please don’t feel like you need to rush to “get them” to quiet down. Feelings are welcome and healthy!
  • If your child is especially upset or is having a very hard time settling (even with support), you are welcome to step outside the room to give them a little extra privacy and time. You are also always welcome to leave class early if it’s just a rough day. We all have those from time to time.
What if a child smiles or talks to me during the quiet observation time?
  • Respond or talk to them! The goal during the observation period is for the adults to be mostly quiet in order to observe their child and the interactions between children without directing or controlling the play. If a child seeks you out, please respond! And also, let the child lead where the conversation or play goes. 
What should we wear?
  • I encourage socks off and clothing that is easy to move in. Longer dresses or non-stretchy pants that interfere with crawling and climbing might want to be saved for other outings.
  • Adults will also be seated on the floor (or on yoga bolsters), so please also consider comfortable clothing for yourself.
Are phones allowed?
  • My hope is that the play group is a time that you can fully focus on your child and be as present as possible. Because of that, I encourage folks to keep their phones tucked away. If you want to snap a photo, you are welcome to, just make sure to ask before getting any other children in the shot.
Why do you recommend laying infants on their backs (instead of their tummy)?
  • When an infant is on their back, they have maximum freedom of movement. One goal for the play group is to provide the most freedom of movement possible for your little one to move, stretch, and organize their body. Of course, if your baby rolls onto their tummy there is no need to move them onto their back, but I recommend starting them out on their back and letting them decide.
  • This position also allows them to completely relax when they wish. You are, of course, also welcome to hold and snuggle your baby at any time!
Can I purchase one class at a time?
  • You may only purchase an 8-week package. This is to allow for consistency for your child (and you!) in order to build relationships and become comfortable in the space.
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