The International Emmi Pikler Foundation at Lóczy is guided by the mission of founder Dr. Emmi Pikler to offer aid in raising healthy, happy children. Established in 1946, this internationally recognized agency is dedicated to empowering children and families through outreach programs that serve the child, parent, and caregiver. Dr. Pikler recognized the need to offer an environment where children are respected and nurtured to become emotionally and socially mature individuals, able to adjust to the needs of others and of society.
The Pikler Institute (nicknamed Lóczy from the street where it is located), was established in 1946 by pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler. The City of Budapest commissioned Dr. Pikler to organize a home for infants and young children who were deprived of their parents until satisfactory living arrangements could be found. Dr. Pikler's concepts and practices included ideas on respecting the child as a person - where he/she is an active individual and is allowed to move freely in a safe environment.
We want to inspire adults to the wonder and harmony of a close and personal relationship with infants and toddlers in home and group settings. This approach is based on the work of Dr. Emmi Pikler from Budapest, Hungary. Our commitment to service, training, and research demonstrates our belief that all children have the right to be respected as competent and autonomous individuals by a caring adult.
The success at Lóczy has been recognized by the World Health Organization, and the concepts and practices have been translated globally with the establishment of Pikler/Lóczy Associations in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Holland, Argentina and USA. The United States is home to an organization founded by Magda Gerber, Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE). Emmi Pikler was a mentor and colleague of Magda Gerber.
The goal of these Associations is to bring the resources to a global community that will help ensure a mutually respectful, fulfilling partnership between children, parents and caregivers. The Pikler/Lóczy Fund USA was formed in the United States to serve as a central information base to disseminate multimedia resources and provide training opportunities. The generosity of those who give financially is matched by the knowledge that 100% of the gift will benefit the Pikler (Lóczy) Institute.
PLUSA Board Members
Elsa Chahin, President and Treasurer
Elsa Chahin. Elsa Chahin is one of only two Pikler certified and accredited trainers of the Pikler Pedagogy in North America. She studied at the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary under the tutelage of Anna Tardos, and was a presenter at the 2004 and 2007 Pikler International Symposiums. She assisted Anna Tardos as co-trainer in Budapest in 2007, 2008, 2015, and in USA in 2010, 2012 and 2015. Ute Strub has mentored her since 2004. She is a RIE Associate, PITC Trainer, UCLA Certified Lactation Educator; as a Certified Interpreter-Translator and Certified Teacher of English as a Second Language, she passed her ESL Exams at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. She has authored several articles and speaks nationally and internationally on the topic of caring for babies with respect. Elsa has been practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness for over 20 years; was a professional ballerina and continues to teach dance to adults and children. Above all she is a joyous mom.
Denise Daros-Voseles, Secretary
Denise Da Ros-Voseles is a professor at Northeastern State University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate infant and toddler development courses and is the co-author of Being with Babies; Understanding and Responding to the Infants in Your Care.
Enid Elliot, Chair of Education Committee
Enid Elliot, PhD. - I have been an early childhood educator for many years now. Over that time I have worked in Turkey, California, New York and British Columbia in a variety of contexts and programs. I am continually surprised, intrigued and delighted by the children, families and early childhood educators with whom I am engaged. Babies and toddlers have been a particular source of interest, inspiration and joy. Doing doctoral work helped me to develop different perspectives on that inspiration and my dissertation resulted in a book, We're not robots: Listening to the voices of daycare providers. Recently I have begun to investigate the influence of outdoor natural settings on children's experiences. Currently I am an adjunct professor at University of Victoria, British Columbia and on faculty at Camosun College, Victoria, BC.
Janet Gonzalez-Mena (Fairfield, California) became interested in work with babies when she first met Magda Gerber in 1976. At the time Janet was teaching a child development course at a community college and also directing a program of child care services for a counseling agency. Based on what she learned from Magda, she became part of an effort to open an infant-toddler center for the agency where she worked. About that same time she published a book called Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers based on what she learned from Magda Gerber about the care and education of children 0-3 years of age. The book included information from Magda about the Pikler approach and research, but it wasnt until Janet met Elsa Chahin that she actually went to Budapest to see for herself! That's where she met Anna Tardos, director of the Pikler Institute and daughter of Dr. Emmi Pikler. That first trip to the Pikler Institute to observe and learn was followed by 4 more trips for classes, observation, a conference, plus a Pikler study tour and International conference. The Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers book now in 10th edition reflects the latest from the Pikler Institute in Budapest. The study tour was organized by Laura Briley (late beloved president of the Pikler/Lóczy Fund USA.) Laura had been to Budapest long before Janet got there and after she founded the PLUSA organization she began bringing Anna Tardos over the USA to train. Janet attended the first Pikler training in Tulsa Oklahoma and became one of the assistants to Anna in the second training a year later. Janet is a strong advocate for creating quality in infant-toddler care in the USA. Today Janet is on the faculty for the WestEd Program for Infant-Toddler Caregiver Training of Trainers' Institutes. She retired as a community college teacher from Napa Valley College in California and now conducts seminars and workshops in the USA and internationally.
On a personal note, Janet is mother of 5 and grandmother of 5. She lives out in the country with her husband, Frank and a cat named Pebbles.
Johanna Herwitz, Vice President
Johanna Herwitz has completed three Intensive Pikler trainings in the United States. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has a private practice treating adults in New York City. She is a RIE Mentor and teaches Certified RIE Parent Infant Guidance Classes for parents of children from four to twenty four months-old in Manhattan. She also works privately with parents, helping them to implement Piklerian principles in their homes to create a peaceful environment for the entire family.
Beverly Kovach, Vice President
Beverly A. Kovach, MN began her early childhood profession upon founding Little Learners Lodge in 1977. She eventually transitioned from her family therapy work to train and consult with early childhood centers full time. Beverly currently serves as Vice President of Pikler Fund USA and is endorsed by Anna Tardos to train in the Piklerain Approach. She also serves as teacher trainer for Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) Associate and Montessori (0-3). Beverly has authored several books relating to infant and toddler care including BEING WITH BABIES and BEING WITH BABIES AND TODDLERS. Her specialty involves consulting and mentoring Infant and Toddler caregivers who work in centers.
Susan Patrick, Assistant Treasurer
Pikler board member Susan Patrick plays an active role as Assistant Treasurer and the shipping manager for Pikler USA's on-line bookstore. She worked closely with fellow board member, Beverly Kovach and late Pikler USA founder, Laura Briley to produce the book Being with Infants and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works for Caregivers. Susan is currently a PhD student at the University of Oklahoma with a research focus on relationships and organizational structures that best support the caregivers of infants and toddlers. She is also the Principal at an early childhood center serving over 450 children ages birth to five. Susan lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma and enjoys collaborating with others who are inspired by the Pikler approach.
Intisar Shareef is Department Chair of Early Childhood Education at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, CA. Shareef is most interested in participating in education as a transformative process and enjoys witnessing her own dilemmas as her personal beliefs, biases and stereotypes are challenged.
She co-authored two articles with Janet Gonzalez-Mena, about their experience of doing PITC training for Exchange magazine and one about cultural perspectives on discipline for the NAEYC journal Young Children. In addition she co-authored the publication Practice on Building Bridge, a companion resource to Diversity in Early Care and Education, 5th Ed.
Shareef received a doctorate degree in early childhood education from Nova University and has experience teaching at all levels from preschool through college.
Agnes Szanto-Feder had very early contact with Dr Emmi Pikler, since Emmi Pikler was the family pediatrician when she was born. She has been living in France since 1956 where she received Masters Degree and Doctorate in Psychology in the research of the psychomotor development of young children. She has been working since 1973; first as Psychologist in a nursery, later as Professor of Early Childhood at Universities in France, Belgium, Italy, Argentina. Keynote speaker at International Conferences (U.S.A., South America and Europe). She is a founding-member and Vice-President of the Pikler-Lóczy Association of France and of the International Pikler (Lóczy) Association. She has authored several books translated to different languages. She has two daughters.
Nicole Vigliotti began her Early Childhood profession as an Infant Caregiver after completing her RIE Professional Development training with Magda Gerber and Carol Pinto in 1998. She continued her RIE studies and became a RIE Associate in 2011. Through Magda, Nicole learned of Dr. Emmi Pikler's work and was able to attend her first Pikler Instensive in Budapest in 2005. In addition, Nicole is certified as a Montessori 3-6 Directress and has begun her Montessori training at the 0-3 level. She currently serves as the Program Development Director for Little Learners Lodge, a RIE Certified Infant Center. Her past accomplishments include founding a public elementary charter school, coordinating regional conferences for both RIE and for Pikler, and serving as Head of School for Montessori of Mount Pleasant and Little Learners Lodge.