Friday, February 13, 2015

Move Baby Move

I recently attended a workshop given by Sharifa Oppenheimer at Acorn Hill . The topic was brain development, and she said over and over how important free movement is for brain development. One particular comment really struck me: “Movement is how we know ourselves”.
Free, self initiated movement is how babies integrate sensory information, it's how they get to know themselves in space, and how they find their own balance. Movement is how they learn. “In the course of her motor development, a baby does not only learn how to turn over onto her belly, to roll over, crawl, sit , stand and walk, she also learns how to learn. She learns to tackle something on her own, to take interest in something, to try something out, to experiment. She learns to overcome difficulties. She experiences the joy and the satisfaction that comes with success, the result of her patience and perseverence.--Emmi Pikler 

Can we “trust the wise infant” enough to allow her to struggle to roll to her side, to her tummy, reverse it, come to her knees, crawl, come to sitting on her own, come to the vertical on her own—as Magda Gerber said-“in her own time, in her own way”?
Rudolf Steiner, founder of waldorf education also advocated free movement:“We should leave every thing to the child. Of the child's own accord she will raise herself in to an upright position when the time comes. “ --Rudolf Steiner
If we can give our baby this gift of free movement (within a secure relationship), she not only builds neural pathways, integrates sensory information and primitive reflexes, she gets to know herself. She gets to have an experience of herself inside her body. She feels a sense of core self, and a sense of self agency.

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