All in child development

Here's a few cool quotes about movement that you may find inspiring or interesting. In the modern world we tend to value "higher" mental functions like reasoning and language over "lower" functions like motor control and body awareness. And therefore kids spend less time in recess, adults spend more time in office chairs looking at computers, and our mental lives become more virtual and abstract as opposed to concrete and embodied.

I recently had the privilege of attending a continuing education class at Athletes Performance in Arizona, which is one of the top athletic training facilities in the country, run by Mark Verstegen. It's a beautiful facility, with a nice grass field, an amazing workout room, and lots of elite athletes walking around and training. It was a very fun atmosphere and I was all geeked out. There are many things that I would like to write about from this experience (including the excellent DNSclasses that I was attending while there), but for now I just wanted to make a few brief observations about the way the athletes spent their time.

In the previous two posts, I discussed two basic ideas. First, that the developmental movement patterns learned in infancy are building blocks for the more complex movements that we use in our daily lives as adults. These simple patterns are combined to form complex movements, just as words and letters are combined to make sentences. If someone is limited in performing a basic movement like squatting or rotating, there are a very wide range of everyday movements that will be compromised. Therefore, if we are going to spend any time working to improve our movement, it is these fundamental patterns that should get most of our attention.

Infants develop movement by progressively learning a series of fundamental movement patterns, which form the building blocks for more complex movements. For example, while lying on the ground and sitting in various positions, an infant learns to stabilize her head so she can see the world. Her head stabilization skills are a building block for the postural control required in standing and walking. While reaching to grab interesting objects, she learns the arm/trunk coordination patterns that are also used to crawl and walk, and eventually throw and climb.