Infant Developmental Movement Education

The greatest gifts we can give a child are a sense of physical and emotional well-being, a sense of comfort and bonding, the joy of being, curiosity, confidence, the ability to relate to others, and organization and problem solving skills. These are greatly influenced by the child’s early movement and touch learning experiences. Through play and handling, teachers, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of skillful training available on basic skills, including proper handling and a deep understanding of developmental movement patterns. We facilitate children in learning to speak and read, but passively assume that their movement will develop to its full potential without any kind of understanding or direction on our part.

The first year of life is crucial in the development of the child and of the adult the child will become. During this time, the infant is forming the patterns of movement, perception, and organization of information on which it will build its relationships to itself, to others and to the world. Facilitating development during this period can greatly enhance the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual abilities.

Touch and movement are the earliest ways in which the child comes to know itself and its world. They form the base for more complex learning processes. They are the first modalities of learning and form the foundation for bonding, relationships, perception, learning, emotional well-being, physical agility, cognitive functioning and also the general ease with which a child can grow and develop.

The nervous system is developing rapidly in infancy. While this neurological development has an effect on movement, the child’s movement also affects the nervous system. Neurological organization is greatly influenced by the emergence and integration of the child’s movement patterns. Patterns that do not emerge or do not become integrated can have a serious affect on the child’s functioning. However, because the nervous system has a great deal of plasticity during this period, it is easier to facilitate optimal movement.

The Infant Developmental Movement Education (IDME) Program

This program is a highly sophisticated and subtle approach to the observation and facilitation of normal movement patterns in infants. The approach incorporates the child’s curiosity, interest and individuality into the relationship with the educator. It is child centered and relationship centered, and child oriented rather than task oriented.

It trains people to recognize early movement patterns and to interact effectively with infants in gentle, enticing ways that will have a positive effect on their growth and development. The goal in movement education with infants is to help set a foundation that supports pathways of ease, strength, agility and adaptability and to help avoid restrictive patterns of movement that inhibit the development of the full potential of the child.

The approach is gentle, non-intrusive, and enticing rather than demanding. It is direct and highly specific to the individual child. It does not force or impose, but focuses, engages, interacts, entices and seeks to engage the child’s inherent curiosity and interest. It always looks at the whole child and fully embraces each child and their parents and family. It includes and educates the family in the interactive process.

In this training, students will learn to:

  • Observe how normal movement develops in infancy.
  • Identify and analyze normal movement patterns.
  • Facilitate normal movement development in a child.
  • Facilitate basic perception in relation to movement.
  • Work with infants developing within the normal range.
  • Educate parents about ways to facilitate normal movement development in their child.
  • Identify and analyze basic movement difficulties and to facilitate normal movement development.
  • Recognize problems in infants at risk for developing physical problems, learning disabilities, and emotional limitations.
  • Recognize indications for referral to an appropriate therapist.

Program Participants

This program is designed to train people to evaluate and facilitate normal development in infants using an embracing, child-centered approach. It is suited for those who are new to working with infants and those who are already working with them. We especially invite:

  • People working in the fields of movement, bodywork, massage or somatic education who want to expand their skills to include infants.
  • Early childhood educators and day-care professionals.
  • Parents and caregivers.
  • Medical and other professionals interacting with children, parents and caregivers, including occupational, physical, speech, and auditory therapists and social workers.

Curriculum

The key to change is engaging the child rather than making the problem the focus. Extraordinary change is possible when the person the child is, is met. This program is an exploration of how to meet and engage that person and how to facilitate change. The program is composed of two parts:

1. Core developmental movement courses in which students experientially explore key patterns of movement development. These are the same in-depth courses taken by students in our longer Somatic Movement Education (SME) program and Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner program. These four courses may be taken individually in any order with no further commitment to the program.

2. Two courses on the application of developmental movement in working with infants.

The four core developmental courses and/or this program is currently being offered by the following licensed organizations: