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Our Team

Respectful Caregiving is a sole proprietorship business. Our team works together to bring high quality educational experiences to parents and professional caregivers of infants and toddlers. 

Interested in joining our team? We are open to adding instructors, writers, and content creators who share our values and mission. For more information, please contact us.


From our team, in their own words...


Christina Vlinder

Founder, Instructor, RIE® Associate

Hi! I'm Christina, the business owner and an educator at Respectful Caregiving. My philosophy is inspired by the work of infant specialist Magda Gerber, who created the Educaring® Approach and founded Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®). I became a RIE® Associate in 2017 and have been studying with RIE® since 2010. 


I have been working with infants and older children as a nanny since 1999. I use my knowledge of the Educaring® Approach and years of experience working with children to serve families and childcare professionals via nanny work and many forms of online education. I am passionate about providing online resources and support both parents and professional caregivers. In particular, as an autistic queer woman, I am interested in increasing the accessibility of information about treating young children with respect to the queer and neurodiverse community. 

I look forward to supporting you and helping you find more ease and joy in your time with children.


Melissa Coyné

Instructor, RIE® Associate

Hi, I'm Melissa, a RIE® Mentor and Early Childhood Consultant. My interest in being with children began around 11 when I started babysitting. I was always fascinated by development and moved by children’s interactions with me. Whether it was a brief encounter or my niece or nephew, it was clear to me that children were my people. My elementary school teachers had a profound impact on me as I dreamt of being them one day


I realized early on that it was early childhood that compelled me most. While I obtained my BA and MA in child development, I worked with infants and toddlers in group care and my passion for this age was anchored. I was first introduced to RIE in a program where I spent 22 years growing my personal education philosophy and it became increasingly important to me to stay true to the integrity of my convictions of treating each human with respect. 


My desire to share my intentional practice of caring for children and mentoring adults is a cornerstone of the courses I facilitate and my consulting work. I am also a RIE Mentor for interns who are working towards becoming RIE Associates and a parent to two grown children who taught me more than any course or book could!


I look forward to being a part of you finding your personal philosophy to caring for children with respect.

Nicki Richards Headshot 2023.jpg

Nicki Richards

Office Manager, Web Manager, Editor

Hi! I'm Nicki, office manager at Respectful Caregiving. I take care of a lot of administration tasks, such as website updates, video editing, Canvas management, various paperwork, and troubleshooting assistance.


In the course of my work, I've become very familiar with the Educaring® approach, and I'm grateful to be able to assist in sharing it with others. As someone who is neurodivergent, I'm also very dedicated to accessibility, helping to ensure that our courses are able to meet everyone's unique needs.

I'm also a freelance editor of both fiction and nonfiction. You can learn more here.

I look forward to making sure your experience here runs as smoothly as possible!

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