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My ongoing journey to understand and integrate the Educaring™ approach into my life began more than ten years ago.  My oldest child Kylie was just four months old, and after trying the very trendy Mommy and Me class, that had a wait list that required me sign six months before she was born, I was wondering what was wrong with me.  Why was I so unhappy with this class?  We brought the babies in and laid them down on their tummies on a mat that had lots of toys with bright lights and noises.  The mommies and the instructor talked about parenting issues, asked and answered questions and then we picked up the babies and sang songs while we moved their bodies around in motions to the music.  This was a very popular class, so why was I feeling so uncomfortable there?  I talked about this with my friend Julia who had twins that were a year older than my daughter.  She asked me to come visit the class she had her babies in.  That was my first exposure to RIE®.  The differences between those two classes were night and day.  I instantly felt that I had found my place. 

Since then I have participated in three parent/infant classes.  Kylie’s class was facilitated by Erica Orosco.  Cole’s class was facilitated by Liz Memel.  Rees’s class was facilitated by Carol Pinto.  It was very illuminating for me to experience classes taught by such different personalities.  The principles are the same, but to experience them through each person’s authentic self was a great help as I found my own way of integrating RIE® into my life.

            I took the RIE® foundations course from Ruth Anne Hammon and Carol Pinto.  By that time I had a basic understanding of the Educaring™ Approach and really appreciated taking a much more in depth and specific look at the RIE® principles.  By the end of that class I felt that I had a very solid understanding of RIE®.  Whether or not I was able to fully implement it in my home was another matter.  Understanding the principles and changing my parenting habits were two very different things.

Over the years I have attended five RIE® conferences and even had the great privilege of  being a featured speaker at one.  I have always found them enlightening and inspiring.  Each year I walk away with a better understanding of infants and toddlers and a deeper commitment to RIE® as an integral part of my daily life.

 Up until this point in my life my pursuit of the Educaring™ Approach was solely directed at my family and the raising of my own children.  When Liz Memel approached me about taking the next step and considering a path to becoming a RIE® Associate I was intrigued and delighted.  I found RIE so helpful and positive in my family’s life, I wanted to share that joy with others.  I was placed in a parent/infant class with Janet Lansbury as my Mentor.  I stayed with that class for well over a year and it greatly expanded my knowledge --  not just of the RIE® principles, but also of how to present them to parents.  It is an intriguing challenge to present RIE® principals to parents in a clear and understandable way that also gives them the tools and they can use to implement that understanding in their homes.   Parenting is so personal, and Janet has been exemplary in helping people identify their challenges and implement RIE solutions.

In March of 2014 I started the final phase of RIE® training and had the great privilege of interning for Ruth Anne Hammon as she taught the RIE® foundations course.  I look forward to interning for Liz Memel for this springs RIE® foundations course as well. 

Over the last couple years with my newfound confidence in my ability to care for infants and toddlers in a way that is respectful and supportive for them but also very pleasant for me, I have taken a few kids under my care from time to time.  It started out with a couple of moms needing child care for their children over the summer.  Then I would occasionally have a toddler or an infant come to the house a few days a week.  It has been a very nice arrangement for me.  I recently took this one step further and am currently working as a lead teacher at an infant toddler center at Kirk o’ the Valley School.  This has allowed me to look at child care from a different perspective and I learn something new from these delightful children every day. 

I recently had our fourth child in March and am greatly enjoying caring for her with what I feel like is more than an understanding of RIE® but rather a habitual integration of the Educaring™ Approach into our everyday lives.