Pikler Pedagogy and Its Guiding Principles

Pikler pedagogy is a parenting method based on the liberation of the child's autonomy. To achieve this, Emmi Pikler states that the child should simply be provided with a suitable environment with stable social and emotional conditions.
Pikler Pedagogy and Its Guiding Principles
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Written and verified by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 13 March, 2022

Pikler pedagogy is one of the alternative teaching methods based on science. It aims to promote freedom and respect for the child’s autonomy in the learning process. Learn more about this educational model and help your child become independent and confident.

What is Pikler pedagogy based on?

Emmi Pikler was a family pediatrician and director of an institution to help orphaned and abandoned children. In 1969, she devised her synthesis on the development of the child’s motor skills by moving freely.

It was based on respect for the baby, who can develop perfectly well without direct interference from the parent.

They should only be provided with a suitable environment with stable and basic social and emotional conditions, such as appropriate clothing and freedom of movement. In addition, it’s necessary to provide them with toys according to their age and to offer them safety within the home.

Adaptation of Pikler pedagogy according to the child’s needs

Pikler focused her research on two basic aspects of children: The need for autonomy and the need for attachment. Her contributions were very important on the emotional level of little ones.

From that foundation, she was guided by the following precepts:

  • The great value of autonomous activities.
  • The importance of a good emotional relationship.
  • The need to help children become aware of themselves and their surroundings.
  • Being in good physical health.

Requirements of the parent in order to apply the Pikler method

To apply this method, one must show respect to the child and, in addition, take into account the following attitudes toward the child:

  • Show a lot of patience.
  • Don’t manipulate the child.
  • Be considerate and affectionate.
  • Avoid accelerating the child’s progress.
  • Don’t intervene in the development of their functions.
A child drawing a picture of a person.

4 principles guiding the Pikler pedagogy

The basic and regulating principles of the Pikler pedagogy are:

1.- Respect

Respect the child as a unique person who establishes relationships. This implies giving them the individual attention they deserve. From birth, one must have full confidence in their capacity, respect their development, and allow them to apply their method of play, their thinking, and to manage their evolution.

“Pikler pedagogy is based on respect and full confidence in the child’s learning abilities.”

2.- Freedom

Freedom of movement during the first year of life will allow them to learn from their own successes and failures. Likewise, being able to move with autonomy will give them satisfaction and reinforce their interest.

3.- Communication

Communication should be verbal , with meaningful glances and an attentive and understanding presence, but without being overwhelming. It’s best to express yourself with gentle gestures during activities such as dressing, feeding, and bathing. This type of communication will express that you value and respect them.

4.- Stability

For good mental health and balance in the emotional development of the child, they need to feel secure. For this reason, the work of parents is very important in the first stage of their child’s life, from 0 to 3 years of age. They must create a stable and constant bond that provides security and progress.

Organize the house according to the Pikler method

Organizing the house according to Pikler pedagogy way will allow you to create a pleasant space. According to how your children express themselves, this is something you can change.

For example, place a rug on the floor. It should not wrinkle or slip. In addition, you can arrange cushions, mattresses, and some toys.

On the other hand, you could put heavy boxes that serve as steps for the sofa. In addition, as a large space is required to place tunnels or ramps, you can take advantage of visiting parks so they can enjoy these attractions.

A teacher encouraging a student in class.

The benefits of applying the Pikler pedagogy

Some of the benefits of respecting the evolution of children, according to the Pikler method, are:

  • With their movements, children will gradually get to know their bodies and limits.
  • Their movements will be more secure and harmonious.
  • Their brain will mature better.
  • They’ll be able to adopt different postures with fluid movements.
  • They’ll expand their knowledge of space and possibilities when moving.

In synthesis, the Pikler pedagogy is based on respect and full confidence in the child’s learning abilities. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not the speed with which the child learns that’s important but the quality of learning.

Although parents don’t intervene directly, this doesn’t mean that they should abandon the relationship. Rather, it means that they should respect their children’s time and pace of development and provide a safe place for them.

Overall, this will help the child become self-aware and grow up to be independent and healthy, both physically and psychologically.

It might interest you...
4 Keys to Achieving Proper Postural Hygiene in Children
You are Mom
Read it in You are Mom
4 Keys to Achieving Proper Postural Hygiene in Children

Adults can contribute to children's body awareness, which directly affects their postural hygiene. Here, we'll explain the keys you need to take in...




The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.