I am hugely grateful to Dr Emmi Pikler - whose approach, called "The Pikler Approach", has had an immeasurable influence on my work and is a continual source of inspiration.
Who was Emmi Pikler?
Emmi Pikler (1902 - 1984) was a Hungarian paediatrician who worked with families with young children. In 1946 she founded the Pikler Institute in 1946 – a residential home for infants and young children in Budapest.
This amazing place became a kind of contradiction in terms: an orphanage where children thrived! Pikler's children developed healthily - without attachment difficulties.
In fact the story goes that later on, when the Pikler children had been adopted into families, they could be picked out in the playgrounds of Budapest because of their exceptional poise and confidence.
What are the main principles?
There are two main principles:
- At the heart of the Pikler approach is a warm and loving relationship between the child and parent/carer, built on trust and collaboration.
- In the context of this warm, trusting relationship, children are allowed the freedom to develop and explore in their own and in their own time - so developing confidence and competence.
Magda Gerber, who worked with Emmi Pikler in Budapest, brought the approach to the United States. Here she introduced it to parents as Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE).
Emmi Pikler's approach continues to help parents and professionals in USA, France, Germany, The Netherlands and UK, to build authentic relationships and happy day-to-day lives with the children in their care.