Enid Elliot PhD, Chair of Education Committee Pikler USA

Reflections from a board member on Pikler Intensive Workshop April 13-18, 2015

Arriving on Sunday afternoon I walked into the pre-conference workshop to see all the participants deeply engaged with Bev, Janet, Intisar and Elsa. All seemed so appreciative of the time they had spent over the weekend and eager to learn more. Bringing their new knowledge, the 38 participants joined the 20 returning workshop participants on Monday for a thought provoking week.

Over the week of the workshop we watched video clips, discussed what we observed and listened to the wisdom of Anna and Agnes; Elsa led us in activities that sharpened our senses and gave us an opportunity for reflection. Anna and Agnes led us carefully through the six days with videos of babies, toddlers and caregivers that we observed and analyzed closely, they gave us questions to reflect on and stories of caregivers and children. It was full and rich. There is much to recall and digest. Some of the highlights for me were Anna and Agnes’ stories and descriptions. Revealing the nuances of caregivers’ interactions and guidance Anna helped us to see that there are subtle differences in the way we speak to children with words and gestures. Speaking of tactful touch she shared that hands can call, ask and offer and do not push or pull. Agnes showed a video of Roland and the ball and challenged our notions of what we thought might be happening. The video was less than a minute long, but she gave us insights that challenged our thinking.

Elsa led us in exercises that engaged our bodies with our minds and gave us metaphors to think about as we experienced the process of walking with a bowl of water or played with blocks, scarves and other toys. As usual Alex did an amazing job of translating for both Anna and Agnes.

Our group was diverse with participants from both coasts of the United States and Canada, Central and South America, Switzerland, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand. Hearing the stories of participants was another layer of learning of the week. What a pleasure to be in a group of educators who are looking for the best for very young children. It was a very successful workshop.