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RIE® Foundations™ Course

Theory & Observation

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This comprehensive professional development course is designed to enhance the skills and competencies of parents and professionals who work in the field of infant care, teach in a college environment, work with parents, or train students in infant care and development. You will have opportunities to share your individual goals so that the course can help you in your profession.

In this course, you will learn to implement Magda Gerber’s Educaring® Approach through lectures, reflections, videos, discussions, observations, and readings.

This RIE certified course course provides an overview of the following topics:

  • nurturing caregiving as the basis for a secure attachment relationship

  • the art of observation

  • natural gross motor development

  • fine motor development that is driven by the innate urge to play

  • appropriate “curriculum” for infants and toddlers 

  • designing the environment for optimum learning

  • social-emotional development

  • discipline that is respectful and empathetic, yet firm and effective

  • supervising and fostering interactions between children

  • parents’ and infants’ needs, expectations, and learning process

Whether you are with infants for brief appointments or provide full-time care, this course will deepen your understanding of infant development and help you be of service to babies and their families.

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Who Takes Foundations?

This course will benefit anyone who wants a serious overview of how to implement respectful care of infants and toddlers in their lives or profession. In your class, you are likely to meet fellow students who are: 

  • Parents

  • Child care staff & administrators

  • Nannies

  • Social workers

  • Early interventionists

  • Doulas

  • Infant mental health professionals

  • Infant massage educators

  • Pediatricians

  • Midwives

  • University professors

  • Newborn care specialists

  • Parenting coaches

  • Infant sleep specialists

  • and more!

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What is class like?

I teach this course in a mixed format that includes twelve weeks of independent study, observations in the field, recorded lectures, online discussion, and interactive Zoom sessions.

Zoom Classes:

We will be using Zoom for our live (synchronous) class hours. In order to receive a certificate of completion, you will need to give the course your full attention and to have your video on to demonstrate that engagement. You should expect the Zoom sessions to be interactive and full of discussion, questions, and group activities.

A Group Learning Experience

You will learn in a cohort of your peers, with time spent in large and small group discussion. Small groups are arranged so that students with similar interests are in the same groups and get to know each other over time. This course is intentionally kept small at 10-14 participants, so you will have ample opportunity to come to know your fellow students as you learn together throughout the course. 


Independent Study

This course is a similar level of time commitment as a college child development course. You can expect to spend around 4-6 hours on the course each week:

  • 2 hours in a live Zoom class, doing group activities and participating in discussion

  • 1-2 hours watching prerecorded lectures and other videos independently 

  • 1-3 hours on reading, journaling, and other writing assignments

Each week you will have one or two short assignments. Here are some examples:

  • Practice techniques for respectful care with a child or adult in your life

  • Read from assigned textbooks

  • Practice vocabulary and strategies for setting limits

  • Write in your reflection journal

  • Prepare a five-minute presentation of a concept for your small group

  • Write down your objective observations of an infant at play


Observations In the Field

Additionally, you will receive support to schedule live observations of infants and toddlers in parent infant classes or child care centers in your area. This gives you an opportunity to practice your observation skills and reflect on putting our principles into practice.

Written Evaluations

At the midpoint and end of the course, you will write a short paper that shares the meaningful things you have learned. You will receive detailed feedback and recommendations for deepening your learning.

All Students Are Treated With Respect

Respectful Caregiving courses welcome all families. As a woman in a nontraditional relationship with another woman, and as a person who lives in a community house with several other families, I understand how important it is to make sure all types of families and caregivers know they are are welcome in my courses. Same gender families, families with more than two parents, adopting families, trans parents, and all other forms of alternative families can join this course knowing that their pronouns, gender, sexual identity, and role in their family will be respected.  


Racial and cultural diversity is the norm in my courses. As a white woman, I do my best to educate myself in things outside my everyday sphere of life, and I encourage a student mindset that invites us to approach cultural differences with welcoming curiosity and thoughtful reflection instead of judgment.


I am committed to a high level of accessibility for my courses. As a neurodivergent person, I know that good course design is important and benefits not just students with disabilities, but all students. I am working to implement Universal Design For Learning in my courses. I offer multiple ways of accessing the course content and of demonstrating your knowledge. For example, you might submit your weekly journals and assignments written, typed, as recorded audio, as recorded video, or during office hours according to your learning style. All video content in my courses has subtitles and auto-captioning is available in the live Zoom sessions.


Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about fitting into the social or cultural space of my courses.


Check out the FAQ below.


In order to participate in this course, you will be asked to agree to a code of conduct. View the code of conduct here.

Tuition & What's Included

Your registration for this course includes:​

  • 24 hours of live online instruction and group activities via Zoom

  • 12 hours of prerecorded lecture and video to be watched independently

  • weekly directed assignments

  • guidelines and support for scheduling real-life observations of infants in child care centers and/or parent infant classes

  • access to instructor office hours for one-on-one help

  • access to a supportive discussion forum where you can ask questions and network to find good job opportunities, now and in the future

  • a digital copy of the RIE® Foundations™ student curriculum guide

  • a certificate of completion to demonstrate the value of your education to future employers

  • a one-year basic RIE membership

You Will Also Need

There are a few required textbooks and other materials that you will need to participate in the course:

...and one additional text of your choice from this list:

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Foundations Students Say...

"This course is truly transformative and I would highly recommend it to both parent and non-parent caregivers. It is packed with useful evidence-based information and Christina does a wonderful job at delivering it thoroughly while capturing the essence of the Educaring approach. The online sessions were the highlight of my week and allowed for meaningful conversations with the instructor and the other students."

Tuition: $1395 USD

(Early Bird Pricing - use coupon code EARLYBIRD for10% off if you register at least a month prior to course start date)

Limited needs-based financial assistance is available. Students may pay in nonrefundable installments upon request.

About Your Instructor: Christina Vlinder

I have been working with infants, toddlers, and older children in child care and private homes since 1999. I began my career with some ideas about what I didn't want to do, but no concrete plan for what I did want to do. I worked with many families and slowly began to figure out what felt right. Once I began studying child development in a more rigorous way, I was able to relate those gut feelings to the huge body of scientific knowledge we now have about what children need and what helps them thrive. 

I discovered that the approach that most accurately satisfies both my gut and the research about infants and toddlers is the Educaring Approach (also known as RIE for Resources for Infant Educarers), created by infant specialist Magda Gerber. I began studying with RIE in 2010 and became a RIE Associate in 2017.


Since then, I have taught RIE Parent-Infant Guidance™ Classes, RIE Before Baby™, and RIE Nurturing Nanny™. I have served as a guest speaker at conferences and podcasts, hosted local events, and led workshops for large groups of learners. I also founded a local network of RIE professionals (The Bay Area Infant Toddler Network), and volunteer my time in several positions in the RIE nonprofit organization.

I am delighted to be able to offer this Foundations course for those who want to dive deeper into this wonderful way of being with children. I look forward to sharing what I know with you and to hearing your thoughtful questions and feedback.

As this is a certified RIE course, I participate in a peer mentoring program. You can expect one or two other RIE Associates or Pathways students to be either observing or actively participating in instruction during the course. 

Found Upcoming

Upcoming Courses

Fall 2023

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays 10:00am - 12:00 noon Pacific Time

September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

October 7, 14, 21, 28

November 4, 11, 18

Early Bird Pricing - Register by August 2nd with the code EARLYBIRD to receive 10% off on tuition.

Spring 2024

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays 10:00am - 12:00 noon Pacific Time

March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

April 13, 20, 27

May 4, 11, 18, 25

Early Bird Pricing - Register by February 3rd with the code EARLYBIRD to receive 10% off on tuition.

Fall 2024

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays 10:00am - 12:00 noon Pacific Time

September 7, 14, 21, 28

October 5, 12, 19, 26

November 2, 9, 16, 23

Registration opens Spring 2024. Waitlisted participants get 2 weeks of priority registration. 

Early Bird Pricing - Register by August 3rd with the code EARLYBIRD to receive 10% off on tuition.

Looking for a possibility not listed here? If you have a group of 10-14 people who would like to take the course, you can contact me to schedule a private course. 

Found FAQ
  • Can you help me find a job as a nanny?
    Yes, almost certainly! I get many, many requests from families looking for nannies, and relatively few requests for nannies looking for work, so the odds of me being able to find a family for you are good. If you have not yet taken RIE® Nurturing Nanny™ or RIE Foundations™, I recommend you do this as soon as possible. Families who are interested in this approach look for these qualifications when hiring. Please fill out this form and I will let you know if I can think of a match for you. If I can't find anyone for you, I will forward your information to a nanny agency familiar with helping nannies find jobs with families that use this approach.
  • Can you help me find a RIE® nanny?
    I can try! Since I train nannies in this approach, I do sometimes hear from nannies that are looking for work. Please fill out this form and I will let you know if I can think of a match for you. If I can't find anyone for you, I can forward your information to a nanny agency familiar with helping families find nannies that use this approach. If you do not want to use an agency and are local to the SF Bay Area, I recommend posting in the Berkeley Parents Network or in the Facebook group I moderate, RIE in Northern California. Most nannies with RIE training charge $35-$50/hour. If this is outside your budget, I recommend finding a nanny you love without RIE training who is interested in learning and send her to my RIE® Nurturing Nanny course.
  • Will you be my nanny?
    Sorry, my schedule is full! If that ever changes, I will offer my availability to my mailing list, so I invite you to subscribe.
  • Can you train my nanny or childcare provider in RIE®?
    Yes! I can teach any nanny that is actively curious about the approach. You can sign your nanny up for one of my RIE® Nurturing Nanny™ courses designed to introduce nannies and childcare providers to the Educaring® Approach (RIE). You can go ahead and register your nanny for the next course. If your nanny would like more advanced training, I recommend a RIE Foundations™ course. I can also help train and support your nanny via individual sessions. Check my consulting availability and book a session! More tips on training your nanny here!
  • Can you consult with me, either in person or over the phone?"
    Yes, I would love to! You can book a session online here.
  • Can you help me find a playgroup or RIE® Parent Infant Guidance™ class?
    I have created two wonderful resources to help you find classes and community near you. The first is the Bay Area Infant Toddler Network. This is a group of RIE Associates, Interns, and Practicum students offering services in the Bay Area. Please check out the many classes offered on that website! If you are local to the SF Bay Area and surrounding counties, you can also join my Facebook group, RIE in Northern California, and find a playgroup or other families to spend time with. I wish you luck!
  • Can you appear on our podcast, write an article for our newsletter, or teach at a conference I am organizing?
    Yes! I would love to speak to your audience on a variety of infant and toddler topics, and I am experienced with educating groups of 5 to 100+ people. I can usually book webinars and podcasts without too much issue. I am also happy to teach in person for courses or conferences. Just contact me using the Other Inquiries form at the bottom of the page to arrange the details. I welcome the opportunity to write for your online or print audience. You may reuse the articles on this website with permission, or you can contact me to request something different.

Other Offerings

RIE® Nurturing Nanny™

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The RIE Nurturing Nanny course is for in-home caregivers and offers knowledge and practical suggestions that can help make this work easier and more enjoyable, resulting in advantages for the infants and young children who receive professional care.

Attachment Theory

For Nannies

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Attachment Theory is the primary theory for how infants and toddlers develop during the first three years of life. In this self-paced online course, you will have an opportunity to learn how babies form their first relationships and how the quality of these relationships has a profound impact on the rest of their life.

Career Skills for Nannies


Are you looking to improve your skills at the business aspects of being a nanny? Learn how to build a successful career in this self-paced online courses.

Scholarship Fund

Are you looking to make a difference? Every session, I have many students who would like to learn about better ways of caring for infants and toddlers but who can't afford the cost of the course. I have set up a scholarship fund to allow more of these people to attend. By contributing to this fund, you are sponsoring someone to learn about RIE®. 100% of what you donate will be used for scholarships for my courses. 

Thank you for helping to improve the lives of infants and toddlers!

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