“The Well-Balanced Child”–Introduction and Chapter One


We are up to the Introduction and Chapter One of our new book study. Is everyone reading along?  This is interesting stuff!


The author writes that when her children were growing up, she was searching for information on not just child development and the practical advice for parenting that stemmed from child development, but HOW nature and nurture work together to produce skills that are unique to each human being.

(Carrie’s note:  I thought this opening paragraph was interesting in that it really seems to me there honestly is not that much regarding  normal child development out there outside of Gesell, Piaget and some others, and even less of this applied to parenting and education.  I also think those with a specific spiritual perspective would have interesting things to add to this opening paragraph, for example, much of the Orthodox Christian literature I have been reading lately has a unique perspective on this.)


Another interesting quote from the Introduction:  “…In looking at child development, I wanted to marry the processes of science and intuition, to find an explanation as to why certain social traditions and child-rearing practices have been consistently successful, despite a vastly changing world and a diversity of cultural ideas.”

This book really is a chronicle of how movement, and especially balance, is important for learning.


Chapter One, called “Genesis”, starts out by looking at the fact that life begins in movement at conception and how movement is part of expression, movement is part of language.  On page 5, “….movement is an integral part of life from the moment of conception until death, and a child’s experience of of movement will play a pivotal role in shaping his personality, his feelings, and his achievements.  Learning is not just about reading, writing, and maths.  These are higher abilities that are built upon the integrity of the relationship between the brain and the body………”


This chapter goes on to discuss the purely physical side along the path of attaining an upright position – the author categorizes this as piscean movements in the womb, reptilian movements on the belly at the age of four to six months, moving in quadruped (hands and knees) as a mammal, from crawling to walking without the hands entirely free as they must be used for balance in a “Primate” phase and lastly, an upright bipedal human.  The author writes, “The various stages in motor development reflect development within the brain itself.  In the first year of life, the child takes a lightening tour through its own evolutionary heritage in the stages of motor development through which it passes, and the formation of connections within the brain that those movements signify.”


I do not entirely agree with this phrasing of human development, but the actual drawings of the stages of how an infant develops and attains upright are correct.    I guess I just see sort of this “tracing of human evolution” as something one would not see in a medical kind of book, so I wonder why this is present in this chapter with this wording when earlier things in the chapter such as “the baby has to be born before the infant’s head becomes too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis” point to a more conventional medical tone.  However, I am so enthralled with the basic premise of this book, I am ready to hold all that for a moment and  press on and read more.  I have this quote from the guest introduction on page xv on my mind:  “A society that does not promote the sensory development of its younger generation is at the same time diminishing its overall intellectual capacity.”


I am looking forward to the second chapter and look forward to hearing how you felt about the Introduction and the first chapter.


Many blessings,


6 thoughts on ““The Well-Balanced Child”–Introduction and Chapter One

  1. Hi Carrie, I’m so pleased you’ve chosen this book and I am reading along with you. I am very interested in movement and children. One, as a child myself I remember having to move. I begged my mother for dance classes and went on to graduate in dance. Two, my son has been diagnosed with sensory processing issues. He is a sensory seeker. I have noticed how essential movement is to calming his nervous system. He is constantly engaged in heavy work – gardening, building etc – and spins, jumps, swings and so on throughout the day. If he had entered mainstream education here in the UK, he would have started school full time, 3 weeks after his 4th birthday. He currently attends a Waldorf KG 3x a week and has another year to go. I think having had this experience, this opportunity to move in his early years has made the difference between him being a normal, well-adjusted little boy (albeit very active) and a boy struggling in the education system and no doubt being labelled with ADHD or something else. Prior to being a FT mum I was a primary school teacher and became increasingly aware that “A society that does not promote the sensory development of its younger generation is at the same time diminishing its overall intellectual capacity.” I read somewhere recently that some elementary schools in the states do not have recess anymore. What are we doing to our children?

  2. I’m thrilled you’ve chosen a book on this topic. More than ever, our little ones are strapped in car seats and carriers, expected to sit quietly in chairs, left to amuse themselves in front of screens—-all the while restricted from movement so essential to self-awareness, literacy, numeracy, and much more.

  3. Pingback: “The Well-Balanced Child”–Chapter Two: Balance | The Parenting Passageway

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