In more than ten years of running parent-child groups, I've seen many wonderful moments of play and interaction between very young children and between the children and their parents. The Playthings in the room have always been beautiful to the eye - it was a Steiner-Waldorf setting so very little was synthetic or brightly coloured and that appealed to me. Then, about six years ago, I was introduced to the work of the Hungarian Paediatrician, Dr Emmi Pikler, and my outlook changed. I began to understand infants and toddlers in a refreshingly new way - from their gross and fine motor development to their amazing competence and ability to communicate long before recognisable language has begun. I learned to acknowledge the very young child as a whole human being, worthy of respect, empathy and autonomy.