What is Developmental Movement?


What is Developmental Movement?

Developmental Movement is the phrase I’ve been using to describe the work that I am currently doing with children, which draws on my experience as a social worker, child therapist, children’s yoga educator and as a student of dance and movement therapy. In a recent training, I learned the phrase “Neurodevelopmental Movement”, which is actually more apt, but sounds a tad medical for my intentions. However, this medical sounding term highlights that the most important factors involved in Developmental Movement are the Brain and Spinal Cord. In this way, Developmental Movements include and encompass:

·         The Brain (the organ)

·         The Mind (the thinking and feeling ‘self’)

·         The Spinal Cord

·         The Body

·         The Nervous System

·         Primitive Reflexes

Here is a list that helps to describe and indicate the importance of Developmental Movement:

·         Movements that the child can perform individual to their own growth patterns and development

·         Movements that are appropriate to the child’s age, stage and placement on the developmental spectrum (sensitive to growth plates, motor coordination and capacity)

·         Movements that bridge the child’s current capacity with developmental milestones

·         Movements that help to integrate retained reflexes

·         Movements that facilitate self-regulation through energy management

·         Movements that support pro-social behavior

·         Movements that encourage self-knowing through coaching (where do you feel this stretch or movement in your body?)

·         Movements that calm the nervous system

·         Movements that help children to focus, pay attention and be ‘still’ (Stillness and balance are considered the Royal Moves in children’s development)

·         Movements that repair the effects of trauma

·         Movements that develop neural pathways that help to coordinate and mature sensory-motor pathways as well as enrich all three major areas of the brain (hindbrain and brainstem; mid-brain limbic system; and the neo-cortex)

·         Movements that are rhythmic and propulsive, helping to soothe and mature the nervous system

·         Movements that promote sensory integration and maturity in processing time

·         Movements that support memory and learning pathways in the brain

In short, Developmental Movements are holistic, and global in their effects. Developmental Movements help children to develop ‘normally’ on the spectrum of growth and development (in all areas) as well as help those children who may lag behind to ‘catch up’ with playful activities that they enjoy and are easy to perform.

In consultation with Ms. Christine and the staff at Precious Seeds, I am incorporating developmental movements into our Itty Bitty Yoga program. I will be sharing some of these with you through the WonderLab Movement blog, and I hope to be able to share some of these easy to learn and use movements with you directly in a workshop we are planning in the New Year.

Yours in health, comfort and connection,

Ms. Joani