RIE Moment: My Body Did It

Toddler walking with hands in the air holding onto plastic cylinders in a RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance Class™ with Pikler® Triangle and people and toys in the background.

When my daughter was two we had a small group of children who would occasionally come play at our house.  Many of these children were a bit older than her and their favorite thing to do was climb up on top of our little playhouse.  Kylie would watch them and desperately wanted to get up there with them.  She would try to climb but finding it too much of a challenge she would call to me for help.  I would come over and say, “I see you want to climb on the house.  It would be fun to be up there.  When your body is ready you will be able to climb there.”  She was often frustrated that I wouldn’t place her up there, but I stayed with it.  All summer she watched the children climb to the top of the little house, and she continued to try to scramble up there herself.  Many days it would be just the two of us in the yard and she would spend a great deal of time working on it.  One day I was in the garden and I saw that she was getting close. 

She swung her leg over the edge and she was up.  She scrambled to her feet on top of the house. She threw her arms in the air and, not to me or to anyone else, shouted, “My Body Did It!” It was clear that she felt the joy of her own success.  She had confidence in her body and her ability to persist, persevere and problem solve.  If I had set her on top of that little house, she would not have had any of that. 

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

— Melanie S.

Two felt balls on white sheet. One ball is white and light blue and the other is white and red used during RIE® Parent Infant Guidance™ Classes

While caring for my 10-month-old nephew, I was sitting nearby observing him play.  He was manipulating a ball and it fell out of his hands and rolled under a chair with several rungs underneath.  He looked at the ball which was resting on the back rung underneath the chair and tried to reach through and grab the ball but his arm was too short and he could not reach it.  He looked over at me and I simply commented that his ball had rolled under the chair.  He then turned back to the chair and tried reaching for it again from different angles but still no luck.  After sitting there and looking at the ball for about 4-5 minutes, he then put his hand on one of the rungs underneath the chair and pulled the chair.  This motion caused the ball to roll forward and bring it just close enough for him to reach in again and grab it!  The look on his face of pride and achievement was priceless. I just smiled. He grabbed his ball, crawled away from the chair and continued to play. 

Principle: Trust in the Infant’s Competence