Image of the young child

Whether we know it or not, whether we are conscious of it or not, all of us carry within us an image of the very young child. This image translates into ideas about what babies are, what they are capable of and how we ought to treat them. We don’t question our image of the child. We don’t ask ourselves whether it is accurate or not. We receive it from our family and our culture without question.

Some images lead to parental and caregiver behavior that puts children at a disadvantage, while other images lead them to behavior that gives children an advantage.

I’ve created this website and series of articles to question the popular images that are not healthy, while offering something more wholesome.

And I stand on the shoulders of giants because I have been blessed with many brilliant teachers and researchers in inspired lineages.

In this list I include the work and teachings of Rudolf Steiner, Emmi Pikler, Magda Gerber, Allan Schore and Thomas Hübl. My own image of the child is has been strongly influenced by them.

Many researchers and theorists (such as Piaget) spent hour upon hour observing children, often their own. In this way, the children themselves reveal to the observer who they are and who they are becoming. Any attuned individual can do this. Like Steiner, I admire good scientific research, but the research takes a lot of time and expense and often comes too late. Therefore, many of my own holistic ideas about little children come from a combination of experience, study, sensitive observation, contemplation and conversation.

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

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