Introducing The RIE® Approach to Ho Chi Minh City
14 years ago, we opened the Thao Dien campus of The Montessori International School of Vietnam. At the time, it was the first Montessori school in Vietnam. Since then, MIS has opened two other campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and through training and coaching has supported other Montessori schools across Vietnam.
As a member of the American Montessori Society’s Pathway of Continuous School Improvement programme, MIS is always looking for new ways to improve the learning environment that we provide for our students. From upgrading classroom equipment, to providing adjustment programmes that allow parents to join classes, (see details of Parent-Child, Early Start and MonPlay programmes) our goal is to make sure your child is happy in their learning and enjoys every moment at school.
That’s why MIS is working hard to introduce the Resources for Infant Educarers® approach as a natural partner to the Montessori Method. At present, RIE® and Educaring™ techniques are used in our Pre School / Nursery classes (below 3 years), but we are also working to help parents feel confident enough to apply the RIE® method and ideas when children are away from school.
RIE® was developed in 1978 by Magda Gerber, a specialist in infant education. Her approach promoted ‘Educaring™’, the idea thatyour infants and young children should be treated with respect, and thought of as a unique human, rather than an object.
This means that parents and teachers should treat a child like a small adult. This means communicating clearly, allowing them freedom and learning to trust the child. Rather than ‘telling’ a child what to do, RIE® encourages adults to accept the child’s choices, safe in the knowledge that they will explore what they are interested in at a time that they are ready to do so.
Put simply, “You do not want a child to do what they cannot do. You do not want a child to be what they cannot be.”
RIE® is an excellent companion to The Montessori Method. Both approaches believe that children are able to make their own choices. Both approaches believe that children should be given freedom to move around freely to develop their gross motor skills. Both approaches believe that teachers should act as a guide and observe the child to understand their needs and interests.
By combining RIE® ideas with the Montessori approach, MIS is able to offer greater levels of freedom to children in our Pre-School / Nursery programme. For example, one key part of the Educaring™ approach is giving the child time and space to explore and learn without an adult interfering. The job of the adult during this time is to simply watch and give their full attention to the child. The child is able to investigate freely and without interruption from the adult, in the safety of a supervised space. This communicates to the child that they do not need to ‘do’ anything to get attention from an adult. They learn that adults trust them and that they can create and initiate their own activities.
The RIE® approach also encourages children to take interest in their own care. Of course, for infants and preschool students, this focuses on communicating with the child how an adult will take care of them. Then, in the future, when they are a little older, they can start to contribute. For example, rather than simply picking up a baby and changing their diaper, an RIE® educator will explain each step of the process. By saying things like "I’d like to change your diaper now", "I’m going to take you to the changing table now", "I’m going to get a clean diaper now" the child becomes familiar with the process. By helping the child to understand what is happening and allowing them to get involved in the changing process, they feel more comfortable and can help with simple steps when they get a little older.
Although RIE® has been popular in countries across the world for a long time, it is still a relatively new approach in Vietnam. However, at MIS we’re always happy to guide parents in how to introduce RIE® into their lives. Home visits are offered for this purpose or for the teacher to get to know the child prior to his first day at school. And, of course, we’re always happy to show you how RIE® is employed in our classrooms.
If you would like to know more about the RIE® approach, the following websites contain a lot of useful, and reliable, information:
www.rie.org - Contains a wealth of information about RIE® and offers online classes and support for parents who wish to learn more.
www.janetlansbury.com – The website of Parent educator Janet Lansbury contains podcasts and articles with invaluable advice for parents looking for information about including RIE® in their parenting.
You can also contact us directly at any of our campuses. We have three campuses under the Montessori International School of Vietnam, all conveniently located in District 2 of Ho Chi Minh City.
Montessori International School of Vietnam, Thao Dien Campus
Montessori International School of Vietnam, Binh An Campus
Montessori International School of Vietnam, The River House
Image source: The Montessori International School of Vietnam