Monday
Jul 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

ecobites

Global. Healthy. Lifestyle.

Community Groups Wonderful Children Discussions The Genius of the Infant
The Genius of the Infant
Discussion started by justme , on 20 July 09:53 AM
Pikler’s theories grew out of observation

Emmi Pikler (1902-1984) was a pediatrician with exceptional observational abilities. Early in her career, she and her husband lived in Triest, Italy for a year, and there she spent time on the beach, observing parents with their infants. Her observations showed her the tremendous importance of the parents’ love for their child. Pikler also witnessed parents "teaching" their infants to sit, stand and walk before they were able to do so on their own, causing the infants to do something different than they would have if left to their own initiative.

Pikler saw this gesture of the adult as a distrust of the child's abilities. Instead, she believed that children have an innate capacity to direct the unfolding of their motor capacities through self-initiated movement, if given the time and space to do so, and she based her practices on this idea. Pikler believed that each child was qualified for this task—in fact, infinitely more qualified than any adult. It follows, then, that infants should not be taught motor skills, but instead should be allowed gradually to come into the vertical positions of sitting and standing entirely through their own efforts.

In the U.S., the vast majority of infants do not achieve verticality through their own efforts; they do not negotiate the gross motor sequence that leads to sitting or standing through self-initiated movement. Children are routinely put into positions they cannot achieve through their own efforts. This is the usual mainstream cultural practice upon which our expectations for quality and timing of motor development arise, and is also the model pediatric therapists study in school.

Faster development is not necessarily better. Activity that takes place in the horizontal plane, before verticality is achieved, lays an incredibly important foundation for later life. Some of the work of the remedial therapist is essentially a recapitulation of what an infant would do unassisted if placed on the floor to explore the wonders and possibilities for movement of his own body, and his relationship to the outer world. Why not give infants time and space to do their work?

An astute observation made by Emmi Pikler illustrates this point beautifully. In this model of self-initiated motor exploration, Pikler observed that infants whose parents had previous histories of back pain spent longer in the horizontal activities of rolling, belly creeping, and crawling on hands and knees before coming into the vertical positions of sitting and standing than did infants whose parents did not have histories of back pain. The infants who were genetically predisposed to back pain and who stayed in the horizontal longer, had more variety in their movements in the horizontal positions than did the infants who became vertical faster. Movement in the horizontal plane provides opportunities to strengthen and elongate the muscles and ligaments of the spine—opportunities not possible in the vertical position. It was as if the infants were working to prevent future back pain! Clearly, Pikler recognized the genius of the infant in his very individualized work on the floor, and Pikler sought to create an environment whereby the infant would be free and unhindered to do this work.
Replies
You will need to be a member of this group first before you can post a reply.

Please consider supporting our efforts with a small donation between $5 to $10. Corporations can request a sponsorship package.

Amount: 

Hot Topics

 

Stewart + Brown - Organic Pioneers

Karen Stewart and Howard Brown, partners in life and work, launched their ethical fashion ...

 

Wear Your Music

Wear Your Music® is a company whose philosophy centers around our love for music and our...

 

Self sufficiency City Style

Introducing; The 'living fridge' that recreates a river in your front room to give you fr...

 

Heirloom Country Gardens

Love history as much as you love plants? Interested in resurrecting some nearly forgotten ...

 

Organic Pavlova

When you have left-over egg whites sitting in the fridge, waiting to be turned into somet...

 

Recycled Pencils

TreeSmart® is dedicated to the idea that all of us are responsible to our environment. We...

 

 

Frugal-152-x-176

Daily-Bites-152-x-165

Eco Quote

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.

Marshall McLuhan 1964

CLICK HERE for more quotes

Recommended Sites