I became interested in early childhood approximately eight years ago when I started working as a fundraiser for youth development organizations in Harlem. I was the Director of Development for an early intervention program that targets high-poverty kindergarteners in low-resourced schools who were already identified as "at risk" of not completing their educations. Through my work, I came to know so many wonderful four- and five-year-olds who were scarred by life’s circumstances at no fault of their own. I also learned that the program was relatively late to reverse some of the social and emotional patterns that develop from ages zero to five. Therefore, I became interested in infants and toddlers with the question in mind: How do you help them build competence, confidence, and resilience from day one?
The answer came in the form of RIE©, a philosophy that helps parents and caregivers understand what respect looks like in practice. It bridges the gap between theory and action. I am a RIE© Associate and co-facilitate parent-infant classes with Johanna Herwitz on the Upper East Side. In her classes, caregivers observe their children while Johanna or I model intervention and limit setting, among other principles. The goal is for caregivers to see their baby’s competence, thus helping them feel more confident in how they communicate and respond to cues. I've been fortunate to have completed the RIE Foundations and Theory course™ with Ruth Anne Hammond. I have since co-taught that same course with Deborah Carlisle Solomon as her Intern.
I’m motivated by empowering women to attain that so called work-life balance, which seems more challenging after the arrival of children. I’ve seen a lot of women struggle with their new identity as a “mom” while working just at hard at the office or having little down time. For others, the lack of choices in quality childcare makes it impossible to justify staying in a job. RIE helps caregivers stay present and enjoy children’s unfolding development, while also providing an concrete answers to what "high quality care" actually looks like.