What can an infant learn from movement?

It’s the old adage—you’ve got to crawl before you walk. An update to this old saw: you’ve got to push, pull, reach, grab, roll over, sit, and want to move before you walk.According to Ellynne Skove, a licensed movement therapist, yoga instructor, and teacher of GoGo Babies class at Families First, it’s important for children to progress through all the stages of movement patterns and master them as they go. Dubbed developmental movement, this learning process is as much psychological and emotional as it is physical.

“Developmental movement works on the body and the brain. The movement of infants is driven by their reflexes and their drive to thrive. As a baby grows, these elements, along with curiosity and will, set the movement process in motion. With will come communication and choice. Essentially, children who are supported during their progression through the stages of movement build a strong foundation for making choices.”

The goal in movement education with infants is to help establish the underpinnings of strength, agility, and adaptability. But we also want to help adults avoid restrictive patterns of movement that could inhibit the development of the full potential of the child. Skove notes, “GoGo Babies uses songs, finger plays, and movements done by adults holding the baby. This gives babies a chance to work through the stages on their developmental path. One important benefit of this approach is that we help with developing the curves of the spine—the architecture of the aligned spine that enables us to stand and relate in the human world.”

“This class supports the natural patterns of development by exercising its basic elements: flexing, extending, pushing, pulling reaching, etc.,” explains Skove. “Using breath work, tummy time, rolling, reaching for toys and people, pushing up, sitting up and down on his or her own, and belly crawling, GoGo Babies provides nourishing play. It supports bonding, early cognition, emotional regulation, and coordination.

Experts in developmental movement observe a parallel development in the perceptual awareness and the brain of the infant that goes hand in hand with movement patterns. They propose that movement patterns represent perceptual and intellectual patterns and that the patterns established in the first year underlie all other future movement. These early developments are the foundation for posture, walking, sitting, and other motor skills.

While there is considerable evidence to support the benefits of the developmental movement theory, the value of GoGo Babies goes beyond helping your child reach their potential through movement. This is a wonderful, productive way for moms and dads to spend quality time with their babies, to help them have every advantage through cognitive movement theory and the very practical reality of a loving caregiver playing with their baby.

When babies move, they learn. Through developmental movement, that learning is both valuable and fun. And that is exactly what Families First’s GoGo Babies is all about.