My name is Jenna.

I am a Canadian living in Scotland with my husband and 18-month-old daughter.


What’s so special about this approach to childrens’ behaviour? Over the past several years I have been blessed by many teachers who have shown me that the mysterious world of young children is not so random as I once thought. Many of the behaviours that serve to befuddle if not downright annoy adults are often, in fact, simply different processes of learning. I have discovered great freedom in being able to recognize children’s learning; freedom to encourage and support them and freedom to respond in appropriate ways.

Why blog about it? I hesitated to start this blog for a long time because there is so much good material already out there (Where do you think I learned everything I’m passing on here!?!). The last thing I wanted to do was throw another voice into the mix, shouting about how to raise children. But after countless encounters with frustrated parents, to whom the approach I had found remained a mystery, I decided it was worth a shot. Perhaps some of us need to hear it from a different voice, maybe  in a slightly different format. So, I’m thinking of this blog as the ‘amuse bouche’ of early childhood blogs. It is certainly not an exhaustive account of child psychology but instead is meant to whet the appetite, to make us think ‘Hmmm…maybe there’s another way to approach this.‘ From there, the many talented educators who have taught me are yours to discover. Bon appetit!

What relevant experience do I have? I was trained as a primary school teacher in Canada and have taught in the UK for 4 years. I have taught every age from 3-11 but discovered a passion for preschool a couple of years ago. I was introduced to and immediately embraced play-based, child-directed learning and now seek to implement this approach in all of forms of teaching that I currently undertake. In preparation for the birth of our daughter in 2012 I stumbled upon a book called Your Self-Confident Baby by Magda Gerber and the rest is history. Since that day my husband and I have been daily applying, debating, adapting and being stunned by the RIE principles in our home.

What do I value? Grace, mercy, love. Trying to see things from others’ perspectives. Acting based on what is good and right, instead of what is fair and reasonable. Learning to listen, even if you fail every time. Teachability.

Disclaimer: While it is true that none of us can ever say for certain why a child does what he does it has been my experience that taking the What could he be learning? approach works out so much better for everyone. Both adult and child avoid frustration and are afforded a wonderful opportunity for observation, reflection, communication and support. At that point, who cares why he was doing it in the first place!