By Dan Rindler, Child’Space Trainer, GCFP
The Child’Space Method is practiced in two formats, hands-on sessions and group classes. In both formats, the practitioner actively involves the parent in the process and teaches them hands-on techniques and games of interactive touch and movement that support infant development and enhance the bond between parent and child.
“Because touch, more than any other sense, has such ready access to young babies’ brains, it offers perhaps the best possible opportunity, and one of the easiest, for molding their emotional and mental well-being.” Lise Eliot, “What’s Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life”
Development: Child’Space seeks to improve motor, social, emotional and cognitive development primarily through touch and movement. This is possible because motor development affects all other aspects of development. For example, when a baby first learns to lift her head while lying on her stomach, this new learning affects her social, emotional and cognitive development too. She can now interact with her toys in a new orientation, stimulating new connections in her brain (cognitive). After having spent a lot of time with adult faces hovering over her while she was on her back, she can now invite those familiar faces to a new experience – meeting face to face from a more equal position. (social, emotional).
Importance of Touch: In our touch-starved culture, babies don’t always get the touch they need. Studies have shown that babies who are touched more have healthier weight gain, better sleep habits and lower levels of anxiety. Child’Space teaches parents techniques that go deeper than massage, the method uses touch to facilitates the learning of new movements which, in turn, stimulate changes in the baby’s brain.
Milestones: Often babies and young children are evaluated on the basis of milestones. i.e. Is the child rolling over? A Child’Space Practitioner, is even more interested in observing how the child is doing the movement, in addition to what movements or positions are possible. Is there an effortless quality to the movement or is it accomplished with a lot of unnecessary muscular effort? Through increased awareness, infants can learn to move in ways that are more coordinated, and efficient.
Trial and Error Learning. Children learn through play, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Ideal infant learning sometimes involves becoming frustrated and overcoming those frustrations through problem solving. Parents can learn through their own process of trial and error how to support their baby without solving their problems for them, in order to learn and to gain a certain amount of self sufficiency.
Early Intervention: Why intervene when we are told “it will work itself out?” Current research tells us that a child’s environment and relationships affect the progress of their development. Making small, seemingly simple changes to your child’s world can make very positive changes in their experience. Take the example of a child who has learned to sit and crawl. The milestone can be checked off on a chart as being learned, but there is great variation in the way each child sits and crawls. Can a child freely transition in and out of many different positions or is her movement limited and strained? When issues of movement are addressed early on, changes can be adopted incredibly quickly and the effect on one’s quality of life can be profound.
“I am not arguing that the infant cannot find a way to perform the necessary physical tasks. I am however, concerned with the quality of the functioning. It seems sensible to exploit the fact that applying minimal stimulus, at an early stage, can help to achieve maximum quality. We cannot foresee which child will overcome early developmental hiccups and for which child these early frustrations will have far reaching, unwanted effects.” Dr. Chava Shelhav, Ph.D. “Filling in the Blanks” The Feldenkrais Journal. Spring 2005.