Alternative approaches



All approaches are based on respect and are child-centred allowing uninterrupted time to work, play or learn (depending on the approach, a different word is used). 

Montessori, founded by Maria Montessori, is the most focused on cognitive operations, such as concentration, strong sense of order and logical thinking, which will benefit the child in future academic endeavours.   

Montessori focuses on allowing children the opportunity to work independently on anything in their environment, where the caregiver is available as a resource to learn from when needed.  Resources made available by the caregiver are provided in an environment that is calm, peaceful and orderly, and respect for the materials is emphasised through leaving the work space tidy when finished.  

This approach is most commonly used from age 3 upwards.

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Waldorf Steiner

A more creative  approach to child development. Imagination and creativity are cherished, allowing time for arts, music and creative play in the early years and delving into more academic subjects at around age seven. 

The role of the adult is to provide a model of real life situations for the child to imitate through play or join the adult in the activity, if the child chooses to, such as gardening, baking and crafts. 

Natural toys and resources are encouraged. The simpler, the better, as it allows more space for imagination and creativity.

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RIE® and Pikler

RIE® or Resources for Infant Educarers was heavily inspired by the Pikler approach originating in Hungary, created by Dr Emmi Pikler. The two are very similar however, the Pikler approach was developed originally for caregivers and daycare centres and the RIE approach was originally for parents. Now, they are both used for parents, caregivers and daycare centres. 

These approaches are most appropriate for 0-3 years as care moments are used to work in partnership with the child to guide independence, active involvement and cooperation. However, it can be used with all children and adults as the relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. Sensitive observation is used to get to know each child individually; to recognise their needs and where their interests lie. This leads to providing appropriate toys to their environment encouraging intrinsic motivation to learn. Freedom of movement is also given to allow the natural flow of gross and fine motor development. 

Carers acknowledge a child's emotional state and allow it to pass naturally through the use of authentic responses rather than distractions or rewards. This, in turn, contributes to a more secure child. 

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Reggio Emilia

This child-centered approach emerged post-WW2 in a town called Reggio Emilia where an alternative method of education was craved. Where children were treated with respect and parents were an active participant in the childrens learning. It has now grown in popularity worldwide. 

This approach sees children as strong, interested, capable and curious beings that work best when with other children, family, teachers and community. Children learn from their space and need beautiful, orderly space where everything has a purpose and that children are capable of long-term, sustained learning in a topic that is of interest to them if they are given the right space and opportunity. 

The role of the caregiver is to provide ideas and skills; to provoke children's thinking and learning and to document the children's work to better understand the children's thinking.  The caregiver works in a respectful partnership with the child. 

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Our holistic nannies are interested in nurturing all aspects of a child. Encouraging an awareness on oneself and creating an intrinsically motivated, inspired child with empathy for others. Holistic nannies take inspiration from the alternative approaches listed on this page. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are also a common practice of a holistic nanny.