Pushing children to perform academic tasks at a young age, especially pencil and paper tasks, will increase the likelihood that they will build these skills on faulty foundations.  

Provide them with experiences to increase the likelihood of their success by developing their sensory and motor systems to their fullest.  Give them time to grow, develop, and learn about their bodies.

  • Do you know children who are Bouncers? They are the constant movers that seem to only be able to talk or think if they are running in circles around your legs.
  • Do you know children who are Noodles? When asked to sit in a chair they wrap their legs around the chair legs or they slide down into the chair like one long noodle.
  • Do you know children who are Shirt chewers? They don’t even seem to realize their shirt is hanging out of their mouth and wet around the collar.

What is it about these children that makes them different? Can’t they control themselves? Do they need discipline, more responsibility, or a chair with a seatbelt?

Developing Skills

These children are all displaying different stages or patterns of their physiological and neurological development. Learning to move, hold our bodies still, or use our mouths is normal. But these children are displaying a “hunger” for movement, or for physical support, or for oral stimulation. How can we supply what they need when it seems they should have moved past this point of development?

We expect our children to naturally develop the ability to sit in a chair (and remain there as long as we request them to do so!). But sitting in a chair, holding a pencil, and controlling their behavior are tasks requiring the orchestration of many facets of experience and learning. Children are anxiously trying to perform with the amount of motor control and sensory information they have available to them. The incomplete development of their neurological systems have left them struggling with what we consider a simple job: sitting in a chair.

Immature or developing children may, of course, have immature or developing systems. Yet the tasks we require of our children are often of a mature nature. Using their framework of incomplete information, children will develop faulty and adaptive patterns of movements and responses. These patterns may serve them fairly well for the moment, but the foundation needed to develop further skills will be poor. To understand these children, we must understand the physiological and neurological makeup of development and learning.

Learning vs Performance

Learning is not something we can see happening, but is rather information our brain is gathering through these systems and sensations all the time. The reflexive system contributes to our understanding of movement. The tactile, proprioceptive and vestibular systems tell us how a particular movement pattern affects us or how we can change the movement pattern. This creates our kinesthetic awareness. The visual and auditory systems supply us with stimulation from the environment that may affect our movement response or help us plan a different movement. All of the information gathered is our storehouse of knowledge and skills used to perform a task.

Performance is the motor or movement response that we observe. We speak, gesture, and write to communicate our thoughts and ideas. These are all movement skills that are used to demonstrate what we have learned internally. We often mistakenly label the performance of these movement skills as learning.

How RBLM can Help

Ready Bodies, Learning Minds© provides children with a strong foundation of the basic knowledge and use of their bodies. As they grow and develop, certain skills will need to become automatic. If their reflexive system is developed, then crawling and walking will become automatic. If their vestibular system is developed, then equilibrium while sitting in a chair becomes automatic. If their proprioceptive and tactile systems are developed, then the ability to control the movements of their hand and a pencil becomes automatic. If their visual and auditory systems are developed, the information they see and hear can be used automatically to develop higher level skills.  Our motor lab will assist in developing all these systems for the children, consequently increasing their ability to learn in the classroom.

RBLM Motor Lab

The RBLM motor lab addresses the needs of all students in task-oriented circuit training, supported by consistent, foundational exercises, offering developmental support for the sensory and motor systems.

About Us

Athena Oden, P.T. and author of the Ready Bodies Learning Minds workshop and curriculum, is widely known across the US for her down to earth approach to teaching and the practical and powerful nature of the Ready Bodies, Learning Minds program. Whether it is a presentation to hundreds of therapists or on the floor with children in a Ready Bodies Motor Lab, Athena is driven by the sincere desire to apply her knowledge to help those that choose to work with her.