Where Pikler meets Neuroscience – Pikler® Conference, October 28, 2017

Honoring Karen, Countess Spencer, recipient Of Pikler/Lóczy USA Founders Award

The developing brain thrives when an infant is nurtured in a predictable, loving relationship. We will explore how the Pikler® approach creates caring human connections that foster the child’s well being and provide a strong foundation for developing brain connections.

Little Learners Lodge by David Vigliotti

Presenters: Katherine Bussey MEd, Enid Elliot PhD, Jutka Hafner, Natasha Khazanov PhD, Debbie Laurin PhD, Zsuzsa Libertiny and Peter L. Mangione PhD

Read their complete biographies:  Presenters’ Biographies for Where Pikler® meets Neuroscience Conference 

Moderators: Gabrielle Anwar, Elsa Chahin and Susan Patrick PhD
Conference Committee Chair: Linda Hinrichs


Time and location information: Pepperdine University Graduate Campus, West LA Campus
6100 Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045
October 28, 2017, 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Registration 8:00


$115 – Early bird, before September 10, 2017
$130 – After September 10, 2017

Registration information:
To register and pay with Pay Pal or credit card.


*Open to all
This Conference will provide attendees the rare opportunity to hear from a broad panel of experts how new information, from the field of neuroscience, supports over 7 decades of research and documentation developed by world-renowned Hungarian pediatrician, Dr. Emmi Pikler and her colleagues. This important work continues to this day at the Emmi Pikler House in Budapest. The findings in neuroscience reach across disciplines and influence diverse practices for supporting optimal brain development in infants and young children through their day-to-day relationships and play experiences.

We invite you to join us as we explore how adult’s daily interactions, when implemented with respect and the child’s cooperation, play a key role in the child’s well-being and development. Bridging neuroscience with best practices in the care relationships with infants and toddlers is a focus of this conference.


Recipient Of Pikler/Lóczy USA Founders Award, Karen, Countess Spencer

Karen Countess Spencer.

Karen, Countess Spencer

Karen, Countess Spencer founded Whole Child International in 2004 with the aim of improving the quality of care for vulnerable children worldwide. Targeting the largely overlooked emotional needs of society’s most at-risk children, Whole Child’s cost-effective, sustainable, and replicable program provides them with the tools they need to become productive members of society. As Founder and CEO of the organization, Karen leads an international team of trainers, researchers, and other staff to change systems of care, to advocate and influence policy, and to conduct related research. Whole Child programs are currently being brought to scale with funding from the Korean government through the Inter-American Development Bank and other donors. On February 20-21, 2010, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama came especially to lend his personal support to Whole Child at the launch of its global initiative to raise awareness of the plight of institutionalized children. During his two days supporting Whole Child, His Holiness participated in discussions with philanthropists, academics, government officials, and the public on how best to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children. Karen is co-author of articles published in the peer-reviewed Infant Journal of Mental Health and Perspectives in Infant Mental Health, contributing important insights and realistic solutions to the public debate. In September 2015, she was elected an Ashoka Fellow, which honored her for identifying and filling a gap in care for orphans and vulnerable children. In 2016 she was made a Fellow at the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom

Congratulations to Katalin Hevesi and Agnes Szanto Ph.D

Recipients of the 2017 Emmi Pikler Award

Merci Agi, köszönöm Kati, you have transformed the lives of thousands of children, and for this we are grateful and we honor you!

Katalin Hevesi, Pikler Pedagogue, began working at the Pikler infant’s home (Lóczy) in 1963, in addition to her direct work with the children, she has authored many articles and is part of the Hungarian working group that helped draft the ten Rights for children living in children’s homes, and the ten Rights for children attending day care. Hevesi has conducted seminars for the French Pikler-Lóczy Association in France and in Belgium for 10 years, and currently works in the archives of the Hungarian Pikler-Lóczy Association.

Agnes Szanto Ph.D., had early contact with Dr. Emmi Pikler, who was her family’s pediatrician when she was born. She has lived in France since 1956 and received a Masters Degree and Doctorate in Psychology in the research of the psychomotor development of young children. A Professor of Early Childhood Development at Universities in France, Belgium, Italy and Argentina, Szanto is also a keynote speaker at international conferences. She is a founding-member and Vice-President of the Pikler-Lóczy Association of France and of the International Pikler Association, as well as member of Pikler/Lóczy USA. She has authored many books that have been translated into several languages.

Advance Level Pikler® Training, October 23-27, 2017, Los Angeles, CA

In Peace with Oneself – In Peace with Others, The beginning of social learning

Faculty: Zsuzsa Libertiny, Jutka Hafner and Elsa Chahin

Class Overview
In this training, you will learn Dr. Pikler’s original ideas about the adult’s role in the socialization of infants and toddlers. How do we observe and understand the youngest child’s effort to learn and follow the norms and rules that surround them? How can we accompany and orient a child without power struggles in order to raise a person who can live “in peace with oneself – in peace with others”? We will share our experience about the difficult situations that toddlers experience in day care and in other social settings. Video footage recorded at the Pikler® Institute, the Pikler® Day Care, and in family settings will be offered for analysis and discussion, serving as a catalyst for practiced observations and engaging conversations.


The following topics will be addressed during the training:

  • “The age of transition” – What does Dr. Pikler teach us about toddlerhood?
  • Adjustment and cooperation in the adult-child relationship
  • Social learning during care giving routines
  • Transmission of cultural traditions at mealtime
  • Children among each other: From the first social experience to cooperation and conflict
  • How to protect the child’s individual needs in a group setting

This course is for professionals who have already participated in basic level courses offered by the Pikler Institute in Budapest, in the United States or abroad.

Participants may send a short video recording (1-4 minutes, to info@pikler.org) of an observation of toddler socialization and prepare relevant questions for group discussion. The deadline for this submission is mid-September.*

$1,200 Early bird, before September 1, 2017 (Does not include food or lodging)
$1,300 After September 1, 2017 (Does not include food or lodging)

*Open only to those that have previously attended a Basic Level Pikler® Intensive in USA or abroad.


Registration information:
To register and pay with Pay Pal or credit card.


Time and location information:
October 23-27, 2017, 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Pepperdine University Graduate Campus
6100 Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

West LA Campus

Read the presenters’ biographies…

3-day Pikler® Introductory Workshop, October 18-20, 2017, Los Angeles, CA

Engaging with Infants and Toddlers through Respectful and Peaceful Care

Class Overview
Children move, explore, wonder, play and learn with their whole being, their minds, bodies and hearts. Adults can support this learning with a careful and caring approach that understands and respects the importance of children’s movement, thinking and feeling. This introductory workshop will explore the philosophy of Dr. Emmi Pikler, which advocates a peaceful and respectful approach to caring for babies and toddlers. Research from the Pikler Institute in Budapest, Hungary suggests that young children thrive when they are seen as participants in their own care and initiators of their own explorations and play. We will explore how careful and attentive physical care facilitates a child’s sense of competence. Participants will deepen their knowledge about infant-toddler care and education in order to provide peaceful and respectful care to babies and toddlers. This 3-day workshop will use a variety of experiential activities, as well as discussion and lecture. It is open to everyone who is interested in increasing their knowledge of how to care for infants and toddlers at home or in center care.


Participants will:

  • Explore the Pikler® philosophy through lecture, video, discussion, and planned experiences.
  • Identify and understand the complexity of children’s growth and development.
  • Gain an awareness of children’s immense capabilities.
  • Understand the caregiver’s role in supporting and caring for young children through lecture, video, discussion, and planned experiences.

$250 Early bird, before September 1, 2017 (Does not include food or lodging)
$300 after September 1, 2017 (Does not include food or lodging)
*Open to all, no previous experience required.  


Registration information:
To register and pay with Pay Pal or credit card.


Time and location information:
October 18-20, 2017, 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Pepperdine University Graduate Campus
6100 Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

West LA Campus

3-Day Introduction to the Pikler® Pedagogy – Tulsa, Oklahoma, US

3-Day Introduction to the Pikler® Pedagogy – Tulsa, Oklahoma, US

Participants will: 

  • Explore the Pikler philosophy through lecture, video, discussion, and planned experiences.
  • Identify and understand the complexity of children’s growth and development.
  • Gain an awareness of children’s immense capabilities.
  • Understand the caregiver’s role in supporting and caring for young children through lecture, video, discussion, and planned experiences.
Read more about the complete course descriptions for Tulsa.

Wecome to our newest board member, Gabrielle Anwar

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Gabrielle Anwar

Born in Berkshire, England, the endearing and accomplished Gabrielle Anwar has over 45 film and television performances to her credit in both Europe and the States. In 2001 Gabrielle discovered the work of Emmi Pikler after the birth of her second child. Her three children were raised within the Pikler method, Gabrielle siting the insightful work as “life-changing.” In 2017 Gabrielle completed a biographic screenplay about Pikler’s life, and hopes to continue working with PLUSA to develop a documentary to bring this same enlightenment to parents globally. An actress, painter, writer and director, Gabrielle has emphatically enthused, “When children are raised without violence, even in it’s most subtle form, they learn not how to harm another, instead with this approach, they learn how to love. Herein lies the key to peace.”

Excerpt from our recent newsletter: Diapering at Lóczy:“Inspiration not Replication” BY DEBORAH LAURIN, PH.D Candidate, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa

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BY DEBORAH LAURIN, PH.D Candidate, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa

Villő, 28 months, waits at the gate that divides the play space from the eating area. For several minutes, she spins the wooden latch of the gate her attention focused on her activity as Gabi, her caregiver, attends to breakfast with Abel. Finished with breakfast, Abel returns to the play area. Now it is time for Villő’s diaper change! Villő walks with Gabi to the washroom and steps up on the little stool in front of the dressing table. She lifts her left leg to the table, while balancing with her right foot on the stool, then reaches with both hands, finding stability in her three points of contact, before easily pulling herself to standing on the table. Leaning with her back against the rails that enclose two sides of the dressing table, Villő faces Gabi who is speaking softly to her. Gabi begins to unzip Villő’s pants, pausing as Villő helps push her pants partially down, Gabi then, gently slips them over the bulk of her diaper. Villő sits now for more stability, with one leg extended and the other bent her little fingers capably push her pants down to her ankles. Pushing the pants over her foot presents more challenge, so Gabi assists Villő easing the pant leg over Villő’s foot to the end of her toes. Now, Villő finishes her task, first pulling one pant leg over her toes and then the other. Villő stands bending her knees a little with her legs apart to aid Gabi as she carefully removes her poop-filled diaper. Ready with a basin of water, Gabi holds the basin as Villő puts her fingers in the water and touches the bar of soap. Speaking softly to Villő, Gabi meets her gaze with a smile. Taking the cloth from the water, Gabi gently cleans Villő with slow wiping movements, then, pauses. Standing sideways in a semi-squat position, Villő holds the dressing table rails with both hands for balance. She adjusts her posture in cooperation, first lifting one leg slightly and then the other as Gabi continues to clean her bottom. Now the washing is complete and Villő removes a wipe from the package and cleans her vulva with a few back and forth strokes, then, places the wipe in the garbage bag Gabi is holding ready. When Villő has completed her task, Gabi takes another wipe and gesturing she speaks to Villő who in response cooperatively lifts her leg so Gabi can continue with cleaning. Standing, Villő gazes through the window above the dressing table, observing the children playing in the room next door. Gabi follows Villő’s gaze and noticing her interest, pauses in the diapering process to narrate about the activity that has captured Villő’s attention. When Villő’s interest shifts back to Gabi, she offers two diapers for Villő to choose. Gabi holds them in front and in a moment of playfulness, Villő selects a diaper lifting her right leg and chooses with her toes. They both smile at this, their eyes meet before Villő turns to hold the rail with both hands as Gabi places the diaper, secures the tabs, then, snaps her onsey closed. Gabi rolls Villő’s pant leg into a doughnut like shape to guide and ease Villő’s dressing. Now Villő turns to face Gabi, still holding the rail with one hand for balance, she steps one foot and then the other through the doughnut hole of each pant leg. Gabi pauses, watching and waiting, as Villő pulls her pants up stopping at her diaper. This is difficult and requires Gabi’s assistance to ease it over the bulk of her diaper. Fully dressed and still standing, Villő lets go of the rail smiling widely and gazes at Gabi with warmth and delight, she extends her belly toward Gabi. Gabi leans toward Villő too, returning Villő’s smile and gaze before offering her hands, then, lifts her from the dressing table to the floor. It is time to wash hands! Villő walks to the little sink at child height, turns on the tap, and washes her hands rubbing them together under the running water. Gabi stands nearby, speaking to Villő, but does not interfere with Villő’s task. Reaching for her towel Villő dries her hands, then, finding the little loop on the towel, she hangs the towel on her peg. Her diapering completed she returns to play.

The beautiful vignette above is an actual observation of diapering at Lóczy, in Budapest Hungary at the Pikler Institute from a visit in June 2016. Ahead of its time, even in 1946, the Pikler Institute continues with a unique approach to childcare that exemplifies ideals independent of the status quo. For most, the practices described may seem different from the way diapering is typically conducted in most infant and toddler group care settings. The diapering routines at Lóczy offer a cultural context in which to re-envision most infant and toddler diapering practices. Importantly, the Pikler® approach is not a recipe to follow in a lock-step manner. A phrase coined by a participant at the San Francisco Pikler® Intensive, “Inspiration, not replication” resonated with my experience of observing the caregivers and children at Lóczy. It is a reminder of what Lóczy offers, without copying; valuable insights about the way the Lóczy children and their caregivers are together. My visits observing in the children’s groups at Lóczy profoundly moved me, in a visceral way, deeply imprinting in my psyche the well-being of the children and the utmost care in every gesture and word of their caregivers. It gave me a feeling of immense hope, like recovering something precious, previously thought to be lost. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE IN OUR JANUARY NEWSLETTER, PAGE 10.pikler-news-january-2017