Independence and connection go hand in hand. In class, children have the opportunity to connect with parents, stay on their lap, share a hug, and when they feel safe and comfortable, go and explore.
Today, in class, I was sitting on the floor observing three girls sitting on their parents’ laps. For more than thirty minutes, none of the girls moved forward or touched the toys. Parents were calm and relaxed about it. I know it could be tempting to engage the children, push them to explore the environment, and explore with friends, but you can also think about the opportunity they gained from this experience.
Once, Ruth Anne Hammond mentioned a thought that really struck me. Only in RIE parent-infant guidance class, children, for the most part, have a real free choice to either stay with their parent or move forward and explore/play.
After the first thirty minutes, the girls were exuberant. One of them realized she can hold herself inside of a triangle. The other one learned she can slide down pretty fast from a plank. Two girls climbed into a box and had a huge laugh being next to each other in a box.