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Magda Gerber (died April 27, 2007) was an early childhood educator.
Gerber was born in Hungary. She received a degree in linguistics at the Sorbonne in France. The seeds for her passion for infant care come from pediatrician Emmi Pikler. Pikler's innovative theories on infant care were successfully tested during the course of her tenure as medical director of Loczy, a state-run orphanage in Budapest. Gerber incorporated many of Pikler's theories into her own philosophy, which she called Educaring®. The term Educarer®, which she also coined, refers to either a parent or other caregiver, and emphasizes the bidirectional influence of caring and educating.
Gerber emigrated with her family to the United States in 1957, and developed and directed the Pilot Infant Program at the Dubnoff School. In 1973 she began teaching parent/infant classes through the Palo Alto Health Council Demonstration Infant Program DIP) with pediatric neurologist, Tom Forrest. In 1978 they founded the non-profit Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) in Los Angeles to further their work with families and child care professionals www.rie.org. Its mission was, and still is, to improve the lives of infants and young children through respectful care. Gerber believed that babies are whole, competent beings from birth and should be treated as such. RIE (pronounced 'wry') involves practices such as allowing the child to develop at her own pace; letting the child engage in uninterrupted play, while caregivers observe; allowing the child to problem-solve for herself; making the child a part of everyday activities, rather than treating her as an object; acknowledging the child's feelings and allowing her to experience them fully; among others. RIE continues to offer, classes for parents and their infants and toddlers, as well as a certificate program for parents and professionals in the Educaring® Approach. The Approach has now found its way around the world, with certified RIE Associates™ teaching and practicing in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Central America, uniting many cultures in their appreciation of the rights and integrity of infants and young children.
Gerber edited "The RIE Manual for Parents and Professionals" which was first published in 1978 and continues to be used and expanded in 2012 with more of her work. In 1997 she wrote Your Self-Confident Baby: How to Encourage Your Child's Natural Abilities from the Very Start with Allison Johnson, and in 1998 she wrote Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect (with Joan Weaver) (Resources for Infant Educarers 1998, 2003).
- Gerber, M. (Ed.) (1978, 2012). The RIE manual for parents and professionals. Resources for Infant Educarers: Los Angeles.
- Gerber, M. (1998, 2003). Dear parent: caring for infants with respect. Resources for Infant Educarers: Los Angeles.
Gonzalez-Mena, J., and Dianne Widmeyer Eyer, D.. Infants, Toddlers, and Caregivers: A Curriculum of Respectful, Responsive Care and Education. McGraw Hill, New York. 2004.