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.

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 therapists

  • 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:

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

  • 1.5 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.


Check out the FAQ below.

Tuition & What's Included

Your registration for this course includes:​

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

  • 18 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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Tuition: $1295 USD
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. 

Upcoming Courses

Spring 2022

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays, 10:30am-12:00 noon Pacific Time.

April 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

June 4th, 11th, 18th

Register by March 2nd.

Winter 2023

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays 10am-11:30am PST

January, February, and March 2023.

Registration opens Fall 2022. Waitlisted participants gets 2 weeks of priority registration. 

Portland, Oregon, USA
Winter 2022

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A special session of Foundations: a hybrid of online and in-person instruction. The in-person portion of the course will take place at Portland Montessori Collaborative in Portland, Oregon. The course is open to the public.

Inlcudes two weekends of in-person class, as well as six weeks of independent study, observations in the field, recorded lectures, online discussion, one interactive Zoom session, and opportunities to observe at Portland Montessori Collaborative and other local centers. 

At Portland Montessori Collaborative:

January 22nd, 9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm PST

January 23rd, 9am-12pm PST

Over Zoom:

February 12th, 10-11:30am PST

At Portland Montessori Collaborative:

February 26th, 9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm PST

February 27th, 9am-12pm PST

Course Full.

Course Full

Fall 2022

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Twelve Zoom sessions on Saturdays 10am-11:30am PST

September 3, 10, 17, 24

October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

November 5, 12, 19

Registration opens Spring 2022. Waitlisted participants gets 2 weeks of priority registration. 

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. 


Frequently asked questions

What happens if I can't make one of the live Zoom sessions?

If you are not able to attend a class, you can make up to two classes or partial classes (the equivalent of 3 hours). To make up a class, you will need to watch the recorded class and send me a response with your thoughts and questions. Your response can be a short video, a voice recording, or a written response via email. You can also schedule a 15 minute appointment during my office hours to talk with me about the day's lesson in real-time.

I've heard this is "Part 1" of the official RIE® training pathway. What does RIE training involve?

The Foundations course is a stand-alone course for anyone interested in learning more about the Educaring Approach. This course is open to everyone.

It also serves as the first step in the pathway to becoming a RIE Associate. A few times a year, a Foundations instructor may nominate one or two Foundations students for the RIE Practicum, which is the next step in becoming an Associate, followed by an Internship. Each step of the pathway involves mentorship and hands-on practice implementing and teaching the approach.
If your purpose in taking the course is to learn how to implement this approach in your work with children, this course will provide you with everything you need. If you are interested in teaching this work to other adults, you should speak with your instructor about becoming an Associate. Click here for more information about the pathway to becoming a RIE Associate.

What if there are no child care centers or parent infant classes I can visit for field observations?

Making observations in real-time in the real-world is a vital skill in implementing this approach. I will work with you to evaluate the possibilities for observing child care centers or parent infant classes in your area. You will be given support in reaching out and explaining your purpose in observing, and educated in proper, respectful observation procedures. I strongly encourage everyone taking Foundations to arrange to do observations in the field.

However, I understand that this may not be possible for everyone. In that case, recordings of classes and child care centers are available for you to use in place of field observations.

What if I can't afford tuition?

I am committed to making the course as accessible as possible. There are several financial aid options available to you, including paying in installments or receiving a scholarship. You should also consider asking your current employer to sponsor your education, as they will be reaping the benefits. If you are not able to afford tuition, please begin by filling out the financial aid form.

Is there a prerequisite for this course?

No. While some students will have taken one of our shorter courses (like Introduction to Educaring™ or RIE Nurturing Nanny™), there is no prerequisite. Most courses have a mix of students who are experienced with this approach and those who are completely new to it. I make sure to tailor the course to the individual needs and experiences of my students, so you will fit right in regardless of your previous experience.

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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