elevating child care

Outdoor Play Spaces

As a self-professed child-directed play fanatic, the only thing I value more for children than safe “yes” spaces are places they can safely and freely explore outdoors. I’m definitely with child specialist Magda Gerber on this one: “Babies thrive out-of-doors. They sleep better, eat better, look better, play better, and learn better. Fresh air both soothes and stimulates. I always tell parents how much more...

Play Space Inspiration

Observing our children’s self-directed play helps us to understand them, become more empathetic and attuned, and it is the key to finding more joy in day-to-day parenting. These benefits (and more) are the reason I’ve shared so many play-inspired posts and videos. Most have focused on the parent’s role in nurturing child-directed play and the invaluable learning that happens when we do. I’ve shared specific...

Unexpected Toy Find!

I’m a play geek. Ever since I first recognized the value of inner-directed free play for young children, I’ve been hooked on providing the environments and materials that encourage it.  Over the last twenty years I’ve observed hundreds of infants and toddlers playing, both my own and the ones who attend my weekly Parent-Infant and Toddler Guidance Classes. Yet I’m still captivated watching them learn from...

The Glorious Freedom of a Capable Child

My favorite part of blogging are the stories parents and caregivers share with me from all over the world. While the details are always slightly different, the stories usually begin with a common experience: feeling dissatisfied, frustrated or unsuccessful, they sought answers. And just like me way back when, they didn’t really know what they were looking for – just something that felt right. They somehow...

7 Myths That Discourage Independent Play

The value of child-directed play is universally recognized and one of the few aspects of child-rearing that experts and thought leaders agree on. Independent play makes for highly productive, happily occupied kids, which in turn makes for happier, calmer parents. And it’s natural — the desire and ability to create play is inborn. So, what could possibly go wrong? Parents often share with me the difficulties...

4 Ways To Kindle Your Child’s Genius

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein Genius, commonly defined as “extraordinary intellectual and creative power”, is a term we probably wouldn’t use to describe ourselves or our children. We may believe we’re smart or talented, but most of us don’t think we’re all that...

Shhh…Babies Playing (Scenes From a RIE Parenting Class)

I have a reverence for babies at play. Actually, any child at play. Even when my 9-year old builds forts, or creates stories with his soldiers, knights and dragons (sadly, becoming a rare occurrence) my husband and I are careful not to interrupt. So, I had very mixed feelings about filming the 7-10 month old babies playing during “observation time” in my RIE parent/infant class. As I’d feared, holding up my...

Back To The Sandbox

Oh, for those simpler days when the children were small. It sure didn’t feel easy back then, but taking in the view through our kitchen window in the early evening light, I can’t help but reminisce about blissful times with my babies, before they became: 1) a teenager accelerating down PCH; 2) a sage, but moody adolescent growing an inch every month; and 3) a rambunctious boy who has to squeeze time in between...

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