About Me

Hi, my name is Esmé Valk, founder of In Their Own Time, mother, visual artist and (almost certified) Pikler Pedagogue.

I see a child as competent from the moment they’re born. I specialise in creating environments and encouraging parental attitudes that give space for a child’s self-directed learning.

Independent investigation and experimentation, guided by curiosity, has been at the core of my work as a visual artist. I see the same attitude at play when babies explore the world. With an open mind and great persistence they follow what interests them in the moment. By exploring, by trying again and again they are learning to learn.

A relationship between infant and caretaker that is based on reciprocity, uninterrupted play and naturally paced motor development are important for giving adequate space to the initiative of children. Children who grow up in this way develop a great self-awareness and balance, both mental and physical. Their skill in assessing risk is a solid foundation for growth.

I continue to be inspired by the pedagogy of Emmi Pikler. Through her life’s work I’ve learned what abstract concepts such as ‘autonomy’ and ‘respect for the child’ look like in daily interactions with children. On my blog I share my knowledge in a hands-on way so that these ideas become tangible. I also offer (online) consulting, Parent-Child Play Groups and play area design to support you in your parenting journey.