RIE Foundations: Theory & Observation™

Graduates of a RIE® Foundations™: Theory and Observation course all smiling together for the camera

About RIE Foundations: Theory & Observation

A bright colored paper banner welcoming students to RIE® Foundations™: Theory and Observation.

Professional Training

RIE® Foundations: Theory & Observation course is a deep-dive into the Educaring® Approach that provides instruction, observation, and self-study. This is the course where you will learn to implement Magda Gerber’s Educaring Approach.

Cost: $1395 Prices may vary.

For more information email classinfo@rie.org.

Who is this Class for?

This course will benefit anyone who wants to gain a comprehensive understanding of Magda Gerber’s approach to respectful infant care and apply it in their personal or professional life. Students include parents and infant and toddler professionals serving a wide variety of communities, including child-care providers and administrators, home visitors, college professors, therapists, nannies, and aligned infant health professionals.

Toddler in foreground putting something into a large yellow cube with large water cooler bottle next to him and adult smiling in the background at a RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ Class.

Learning Objectives.

This comprehensive professional development course is designed to enhance the skills and competencies of parents and of professionals who work in the field of infant care, teach in a college environment, work with parents, or train students in infant care and development. Whether you are with infants for brief periods or provide full-time care, this course will deepen your understanding of infant development and behavior and help you be of service to babies and their families.

This course provides an overview of the following:

  • Natural gross motor development
  • Fine motor development that is driven by the innate urge to play
  • Social-emotional development
  • Designing the environment for optimum learning
  • The art of observation
  • Understanding parents’ and infants’ needs, expectations, and learning processes
  • Appropriate “curriculum” for infants and toddlers

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.

Magda Gerber

Available Classes

RIE Foundations: Theory & Observation is offered in online, in-person or hybrid formats to meet different work schedules and learning styles, as well as time zones. Classes may meet on weekends, weeknight evenings, or daytime hours, during an intensive two weeks or over the course of several months. Find a class that’s right for you. No matter which format you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to see infants “with new eyes.”


See what students using different formats have to say about the course.

“I did not expect the RIE Foundations course to be such a rich and personal experience. This course has truly been life-changing for me. I think the most noticeable change I will make when I return to work will be my pace. I am going to slow down and then slow down some more — to really focus on the infants in my care — to give them my FULL attention. I know the children and I will benefit greatly.”

Foundations StudentIn-person

“This class has just been wonderful. I’ve never used Canvas before, but everything is very clear and easy to use. Zoom class works just fine for me. I really appreciate the opportunity to take this class online. I don’t know when I would have been able to take a class like this if I had to travel or take time away from work…I honestly can’t think how this class can be better. The variety of reading, watching/listening to lectures and assignments is great. I love the small groups (that stay the same) for discussions. Love it all.”

Foundations StudentHybrid

“I’ve learned about what respect really means applied to infants and toddlers and that trust and confidence are as important coming from adult to child as they are coming from child to adult.”

Foundations studentOnline

Foundations Course FAQs

While some students will have taken one of our shorter courses (like Introduction to Educaring or Nurturing Nanny™, there is no prerequisite for RIE Foundations: Theory & Observation. Most courses have a mix of students who have some experience with the approach and others who are completely new to it. Our instructors tailor the course to the individual needs of the students.

RIE-certified Foundations: Theory & Observation classes are taught online and in-person around the world by certified RIE Associates. Generally, all classes will be a mix of meeting together (in-person or via Zoom), independent study, and observations in the field (or via video).

Sign up for the class that meets your schedule and preferred learning style. Rest assured, all classes share standard hours of learning time and basic required reading, so you can choose what works for you.

We believe that every child and every community deserves to learn about Magda Gerber’s relationship-based approach to infant and toddler care.  One way we put this value into action is through a long history of offering scholarships and financial aid for our courses. Contact your instructor for details.

Attendance is an important part of the curriculum for this highly interactive course, however, most instructors allow you to make up  missed interactive time within limits. Contact the instructor of the class you are considering to be sure.

If you end up missing too much class because of planned or unplanned absences, you will be eligible for a certificate of attendance, rather than completion, but the learning that you were present for will stay with you, regardless of paperwork!

Courses are intentionally kept small at maximum of 14 participants, allowing ample opportunity to come to know your fellow students as you learn together throughout the course.

Upon successful completion of RIE Foundations, you will receive a certificate of completion recording the class hours you have earned that you can use in your professional portfolio to demonstrate your ongoing training. You will also receive a personalized letter from your instructor detailing your unique participation and growth in the class.

Completing RIE Foundations is the first step along a pathway required to officially teach RIE classes. You will not be a certified RIE Associate after taking Foundations. After completing this course, those who are interested in becoming a certified instructor may apply to the RIE Professional Training Pathway. This Pathway involves hands-on experience, periods of growth and reflection with seasoned mentors, and practice teaching and applying the RIE Approach.

The RIE Professional Training Pathway is intentional, providing time and space for students to absorb and work with what they learn. Students take multiple years to complete the process. You can learn more about the process here.