Who inspires and drives our work...

Dr. Emmi Pikler -  Dr. Emmi Pikler was a woman who was ahead of her time and a true genius in the field of child development. Her work in Hungary as a pediatric doctor, mother and founder of Loczy orphanage in Budapest in 1946 opened our eyes to a very different and respectful way of being with infants and children that optimises their developing lives and by default also the lives of the carers! Her work is fully in line with the recent discoveries of neuroscience and attachment theory and her legacy lives on in many countries where parents and teachers see the huge benefits to all in using her inspiring and life-changing approach.  We are indebted to her and her heart’s vision as it is the key to growing a more healthy, peaceful and kind society. 

Further information:
The Pikler Collection
Pikler USA 
Pikler Hungary


Pikler’s Main Principles: 
As compiled by Tineke and edited by Pennie Brownlee

1. The Relationship is ALL. It is a matter of Life to the Baby.
This acknowledges the vital need of a primary, affective and loving relationship in a child’s life.

2. The relationship is built on respectful care from the caring adult.
This grows into a genuine partnership where the child is an active participant who is truly seen as an individual and a partner.

3. Full attention from the caring adult in the moments of care builds the relationship and trust.
The caring adult slows down and tunes into the baby’s communication, needs and cues and with gentle handling and gentle words lets the child know what is happening. 

4. Freedom of movement combined with trust in the baby’s genetic coding to unfold their physical development.
There is trust in the child’s ability to unfold their physical selves without help from us. All they need is to be placed in a safe position where they can test, learn and grow their abilities when they are ready.

5. Freedom to play, explore and interact with other people and their environment.
The caring adult makes opportunities for uninterrupted, independent play. Through this play the child grows in awareness of their world, of others, and in their sense of self.

6. Prime physical health depends on quality nutrition, time in nature, to play and to sleep.

All six of these principles lead to the optimum set up of emotional, physical and mental health for our babies.


Magda Gerber - The story continues with this Hungarian woman who was inspired when taking her daughter to Dr. Emmi Pikler.  Magda embraced Dr. Pikler's ideas and then went on to study early childhood education herself. She moved to America initially working with autistic children and families.  In wanting to continue sharing this knowledge of respectful interaction from birth with families and teachers, she founded RIE® in 1973 (Resources for Infant Educarers).  RIE® has become a well known global organisation which thankfully continues to educate and grow awareness of Magda’s work and Dr. Emmi Pikler’s original principles. 

Further information:
Magda Gerber's Basic Principles
RIE official site


Rudolf Steiner -  The founder of Steiner/Waldorf education was a man ahead of his time with his ideas about education towards humanity and freedom. This education addresses the whole child in the areas of thinking, feeling and willing and also spirit, soul, and body where imagination plays a significant role. Learning is seen as a journey of discovery, both of the world and oneself. His deep studies of a human being with an emphasis on readiness align with and compliment Dr. Emmi Pikler's work. 

"Rudolf Steiner gives us a true understanding of the needs of the young child, and Emmi Pikler shows us how to do it."  - Freya Jaffke

Further Information:
Waldorf 100 Short Film
The complimentary approaches of Pikler and Steiner


Pennie Brownlee - Pennie is one of Aotearoa’s gifts to early childhood education. Inspired by the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler, Pennie has studied at Loczy and is an extensive researcher, teacher and writer in optimal child development. Her training work here and abroad, and her books and social media writings have transformed the lives and hearts of many teachers, parents, and subsequently children.  We are indebted to her for leading us to this way of being with others. 

Further information:
Pennie Brownlee official website


turanga Māuri -  It is documented that Māori children are considered tapu gifts from the Atua (spiritual beings) and their ancestors, and they are to be protected from any physical violence. Pre-colonisation accounts speak of children being well treated by adults and given a great deal of freedom to play and develop their physical capabilities in nature. Mothers were well taken care of pre and post birth and fathers were fully  involved in caring for their children too. Babies were worn on their bodies or placed in a woven basket next to parents. They were initially held exclusively by the mother and father as this was believed to grow the bond between them. We have much to further explore and learn from this way of seeing and being with children.

Further information:
Te Kahui Mana Ririki: Traditional Maori Parenting  


Others that inspire our work: