Children Need Space to Process Impressions: Two Books Offer Practical Foundations for Safeguarding the Dignity of the Young Child

Young children are highly sensitive and develop their personality through interactions with and impressions absorbed from their environment. Because of this interaction and because child development at this early age is crucial for later life, the protection of childhood is an essential task.

Children learn from other people and they learn in the space they are given for processing the impressions they are exposed to,’ say Michaela Glöckler, a paediatrician, and Claudia Grah-Wittich, a social worker, who are both editors of the two-volume book ‘The Dignity of the Child’. What children are able to absorb and process in the very early years forms the basis for their future maturation.

Children do not always grow up in an ideal environment. They may be exposed to sensory overstimulation, which they are unable to process; cognitive skills may be expected of them that they may at best be able to imitate but certainly not yet penetrate, or they may live in a challenging social environment that they are unable to cope with.

Inspired by Waldorf Education and the ideas of Emmi Pikler and supported by medical, psychological and pedagogical research results, the experienced authors provide insights into how to support children between birth and the change of teeth.

Topics covered range from embryonic development and care-giving to the tasks of family life, education and therapy. Primary caregivers are particularly important because it is from them that young children learn first of all. If the dignity of the young child is to be safeguarded, not only the children need to be educated but the educators, too, because children are ‘nurtured’ by the dignity that emanates from the adults around them.