Educaring® Approach & RIE® Principles

The Educaring Approach

RIE’s educational approach is referred to as Educaring®, and summarized as follows:

  • The infant needs an intimate, stable relationship with at least one primary person (e.g., a parent figure).
  • This relationship is best developed during caregiving activities. These same activities offer excellent opportunities for the development of cooperation, language, body image, consent and mutuality in task-oriented experiences.
  • The infant is an active participant rather than a passive recipient while being cared for.
  • The infant needs a safe, carefully-designed environment in which to move, explore and manipulate objects. They thus achieve the stages of gross motor and sensory-motor development in their own time.
  • Spontaneous, self-initiated activities, which the infant pursues freely and autonomously, have an essential value for physical and mental development. The pleasure in the process of exploration and mastery is self-reinforcing. The infant becomes intrinsically motivated to learn.
  • Meanwhile, the Educarer® must learn to observe, understand and respect the individuality of the infant and respond with sensitivity and empathy to the cues the infant gives.

The RIE Principles

The RIE Principles are the starting point for establishing a healthy and supportive relationship with your baby from the beginning. RIE empowers parents and caregivers with the tools and perspective to understand each baby, the unique relationship, and find balance in the individual situation or setting.

RIE isn’t a list of rules you follow to a T. It’s a framework for understanding your baby, their needs and competencies, assessing your own values and needs, and putting those together in an intentional way.

If you identify and agree with our basic principles,
you can use them to develop inner guidelines for responding
to the many perplexing issues of parenthood.
 Magda Gerber


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.


An authentic child is one who feels secure, autonomous, competent, and connected.

When we help a child to feel secure, feel appreciated, feel that “somebody is deeply, truly interested in me,” by the way we just look, the way we just listen, we influence that child’s whole personality, the way that child sees life.

Mother and toddler having snack at home at a low table. The toddler is cleaning up a small water spill while mother looks gently on.

Basic trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self-learner

Because of this trust, we provide the infant with only enough help necessary to allow the child to enjoy mastery of their own actions.

BW Photo of young infant in crib looking upwards with arms outstretched

An environment for the child that is physically safe, cognitively challenging, and emotionally nurturing

Our role is to create an environment in which the child can best do all the things that the child would do naturally. The more predictable an environment is, the easier it is for babies to learn.

As infants become more mobile, they need safe, appropriate space in which to move. Their natural, inborn desire to move should not be handicapped by the environment.

Toddlers climbing in, around, and on top of climbing cubes

Time for uninterrupted play

We give the infant plenty of time for uninterrupted play.

Two babies on on belly and the other on their back exploring objects during a RIE® Parent Infant Guidance™ Class

Freedom to explore and interact with other infants

Instead of trying to teach babies new skills, we appreciate and admire what babies are actually doing and learning.

BW photo of a baby lying on their back sucking thumb and looking peacefully at parent

Involvement of the child in all caregiving activities to allow the child to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient

During care activities (diapering, feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.), we encourage even the tiniest infant to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient of the activities. Parents create opportunities for interaction, cooperation, intimacy and mutual enjoyment by being wholeheartedly with the infant during the time they spend together anyway.

“Refueled” by such unhurried, pleasurable caring experiences, infants are ready to explore their environment with only minimal intervention by adults.

Toddler on top of stair climbing ramp with car at RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Class at RIE Hollywood Center

Sensitive observation of the child in order to understand their needs

Our method, guided by respect for the infant’s competence, is observation. We observe carefully to understand the infant’s communications and their needs.

The more we observe, the more we understand and appreciate the enormous amount and speed of learning that happens during the first two or three years of life. We become more humble, we teach less, and we provide an environment for learning instead.

BW Photo of Two toddlers exploring objects during RIE® Parent Infant Guidance™ Class

Consistency and clearly defined limits and expectations to develop discipline

We establish clearly defined limits and communicate our expectations to develop self-discipline.