MINDFUL BABY & ME
with Evelyn Nichols
Mindful Baby & Me Class for 0 - 6 months (pre-crawlers)
Evelyn Nichols' Mindful Baby & Me classes are a time to connect with your baby, build your community, and participate in hands-on learning to hone your practice of respectful caregiving. Evelyn's respectful, connection-focused approach to caregiving and parent/carer education is primarily inspired by Magda Gerber (best know as RIE®***), Positive Discipline and works by authors Siegel & Bryson, Mazlish & Faber, to name a few. As a passionate parent educator and caregiver trainer, Evelyn welcomes both parents and nannies to come for support and learning.
In this class, you'll:
Connect with likeminded parents and carers
Learn by doing (or in our case, learning to do less while observing your baby at play) about RIE-inspired respectful caregiving
Feel supported and recharged in our discussions
Receive expert guidance from Evelyn (get your questions answered in class AND observe a seasoned carer in action with your babies)
Gain clarity through setting intentions and hone mindfulness (through sensitive observation of your baby - a kind, practice in being present with all senses)
Build your village for your baby and you
Our weekly classes are a peaceful time for parents to observe and be with their child during uninterrupted play time with other infants of similar ages and stages. Parents/carers are encouraged to place young babies on their backs to allow babies to develop motor skills at their own pace.
The class is a mixture of observation, listening time, and discussion.
By observing children, we learn about their interests and needs. During observation, adults sit quietly and give children 100% of their attention wondering about and appreciating what their baby can do in that moment.
During sharing parents/carers' actively listen and speak from the heart. It's a chance to heal and unload the stresses, worries and feelings that need to be drained in order for us to be the calm, confident leaders our children need from us.
Our discussions are generally informal. We discuss common topics of infancy and toddlerhood, led by our observations and your questions.
Topics commonly covered include:
establishing healthy sleep
respectful holding and routine caregiving (diapering, bathing, feeding)
communicating with babies and toddlers
natural motor skills development
safe, challenging environments & independent play
consistent and respectful limit setting
responding to crying, selective interventions, and problem solving
guiding babies during baby-baby interactions
toilet learning & self-care (ex. dressing) skills
reducing sibling rivalry
playing with your child
Many people opt to continue with Evelyn's class for a whole year as consistency with a familiar group of adults and children is fertile ground for social and emotional growth.
***Note: This class is not a RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance Class. RIE®'s Educaring approach is discussed often, but the format and facilitator is not part of RIE® (Resources of Infant Educarers).
Jan + Feb 6-week session: 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15 (register now) - $25/class for a 6-series $150, $28 drop in at a private home in the Sunnyside neighborhood, 10:15-11:15am
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I benefit from this group as a parent/caregiver?
Mindful Baby & Me groups are designed to support parents and carers on the journey of connected and effective parenting in the following ways:
Having sacred time to positively connect with your child via kind, full attention during observation and acting as a secure base for your child
Learning more about your child’s temperament, interests, and learning process through observing your child play in a group setting
Learning new strategies to care for your child and yourself through observing the facilitator with the group, class discussions and listening time
Having the opportunity to practice mindful caregiving strategies in a safe and supportive environment
Reading and discussing articles on mindful parenting topics as well as your questions with the facilitator and other parents
Each component has rich benefits for parents. Most parents share that actually seeing the strategies that one may read or hear about in action is the most valuable learning opportunity. New teachers have the experience to observe wise, experienced teachers model caregiving, conflict resolution, setting limits, and encouraging cooperation from young children - however few parents and in-home carers have the opportunity from learning and being scaffolded through observation, modeling and being able to ask questions in the moment.
How will my child benefit from participating in a Mindful Baby & Me group?
Mindful Baby & Me groups provide your child with an opportunity to have special time with their carer as they have uninterrupted play with other infants. It is an opportunity to be refueled in a calm environment by their parent/carers full attention during observation time. Babies do not come with manuals, and the reality of caring for an infant 24/7 is as daunting as it is rewarding and joyful. Many new parents worry if they are doing it "right" or if their baby is "ok". Here parents feel supported, cared for, and get their questions answered, leaving them feeling calmer, more confident, and less anxious week by week. Children in turn feel calmer, more confident and more secure as they are so deeply in tune with their parents.
Parents also learn how to trust their infants natural development and inborn competence. Parents learn to see their babies with new eyes, transforming the ways they speak to and do with their child in all ways big and small. We find out ways we can gain cooperation from our youngest babies, and our babies learn gain confidence in their abilities to problem solve, play and learn. As soon as a baby is born is the time to lay the groundwork for their emotional intelligence, and self-regulation --the true keys to Kindergarten Readiness and whole life success!
Are the methods research-based?
Many of the methods we draw from are research-based theories taught in the academia of child development. A majority of the class discussion and practices will spring from RIE's Educaring Approach which is based on Magda Gerber's and Emmi Pikler's work studying thousands of babies and toddlers over 60 years. Rebecca Walsh, Director of Early Childhood Matters, and Evelyn with over 30 years of teaching between them, collaborated to create the curriculum for this class.
Is this a RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) class?
This is not a RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance class, however it is influenced by the format and ideas of RIE®'s Educaring approach. Parents and carers in the class are encouraged to allow babies to have time for uninterrupted play and apply selective interventions (a concept discussed in the class). Evelyn has intentionally added in some elements from other mindful practices and connection-based early childhood approaches to create a supportive cocoon for both the adults and babies in this course. Evelyn is RIE Foundations course trained and experienced in applying Educaring-inspired approaches in group care. In addition, Evelyn's childcare and preschool Mighty Bambinis has been one of the few RIE® Foundations courses observation sites for students in the course. If you are looking for a RIE® parent-infant guidance course there are some available in SF/Bay Area, I highly recommend you check them out.
Mindful Baby & Me Class Guide
Arrival & Format
When you enter the class please remove your shoes and find a comfortable place to sit on the floor or backjack floor chair. Feel free to feed and diaper your baby during class. There is a changing table in Open Nest and comfortable chairs and couches for your comfort. I recommend that you place your baby on their back on the floor near you.
Arrival time is a great time to get comfortable and connect with other parents and carers in the class, and also to casually ask Evelyn questions. We'll begin class at a leisurely pace with a greeting circle when everyone has arrived. Greeting will be followed by an extended sensitive observation period - observing, listening, learning about and beholding your baby. Following the nourishing observation time have a "demonstration" or experiential activity, discussion, and end with a meditation.
Yes: Simple comfortable clothes (onsies preferred) & bare feet to help with grip
No: Shoes, jeans, stiff, restrictive clothes, choking hazards (headbands, bows, or necklaces)
If your child is too ill to function well in class, I ask that you keep them home.
Before your first class, I recommend reading these great articles to introduce you to concepts we'll explore in class:
100% Fool Proof Parenting, 7 Key Ingredients
The Secrets of Infant Learning