Colleen Walling, Caregiver

I have had the pleasure of being able to attend all four of the previous Pikler® Intensives that have been held in the United States. I cannot even begin to describe how truly remarkable these trainings are. I am a lifelong learner, and as such, I attend a lot of conferences and trainings. The Pikler® Intensives have by far been the best conferences/trainings I have EVER attended. The content is discussed as a remarkably deep and advanced level, and there’s no way someone could attend an intensive and not leave leaning a ton of information. The high level of knowledge and varied experiences that are shared by the other participants also lends itself to discussions that are extremely thought provoking and eye opening. These deep discussions allow you the opportunity to get to know other participants really well, and open the door for a lot of professional networking and idea sharing.

As a caregiver who works with infants and toddlers on a daily basis, I can say that attending the past intensives has without a doubt made me a better caregiver. The ­intensives have taught me what it truly means to observe children and be present with them.

As a result of my increased observation skills, I am better able to know and understand the infants and toddlers that I work with on a daily basis, which leads to a much deeper respect and admiration for the children in my care. This respect and admiration leads to a stronger and deeper relationship with the children, and those relationships are at the heart of a high quality peaceful classroom environment.

Seeing videos from the Pikler institute has shown me what it truly means to be connected to infants and toddlers, and how caregiving really is at the heart of the curriculum. Some of the video examples I have seen at the intensives have been so beautiful they have brought tears to my eyes. To see such great examples of what high quality infant and toddler caregiving can look like, is worth more than I can even put into words. When you see the way the caregivers at the Pikler Institute slow down and really connect with each child in each caregiving moment it is just awe inspiring.

I also have gained a lot of knowledge about children’s play and exploration, and I have a much greater appreciation for allowing children the opportunity to explore play objects in their own way, in their own time, and at their own pace. I think the Pikler Intensives have helped me to trust that the children in my care will do what is right for them in any given moment. I see that my main role is to be a facilitator, and use caregiving times as opportunities to connect with and refuel each of the children in my care, so that during free play times (any time they are not sleeping or engaged in caregiving routines) they are able to play and explore based upon their own unique interests and desires.

Being exposed to the Pikler method has given me a huge passion for natural gross motor development, and has taught me a lot about motor development in infants and toddlers. I feel like I can see the children in my care through a more focused and meaningful lens than I could before I attended. I appreciate each stage in motor development, not just the major milestones. The intensives have opened my eyes to the quality of children’s movements, and have helped me to appreciate and trust that children move in ways that are most natural to them, and that they don’t need my interventions to reach motor milestones.

If you are a caregiver who works with infants and toddlers I promise you will LOVE any Pikler Intensive that you attend. You will not believe the knowledge that you are able to gain, and the wonderful experiences you will be able to have during the week you are at the intensive! I promise you will hold a piece of each intensive that you attend in your heart, and your eyes will be opened to things you never even thought possible. As a result you will become a better, more mindful, more respectful caregiver. Any Pikler Intensive receives my highest endorsement, and I always look forward to each intensive. You cannot know how truly life changing attending a Pikler Intensive is until you experience it for yourself! Every intensive that I have attended has exceeded my expectations, and I can honestly say that the intensives are one of my favorite weeks each year. It’s so amazing to be surrounded not only by the experts who teach the classes, but also by the other participants who are all extremely passionate about honoring and respecting infants and toddlers!