With so many of our young children displaying various sensory, balance, learning and behavioral challenges, many parents need to learn how to work purposefully to help heal and also prevent such problems. Nancy Blanning and Laurie Clark's new book, Movement Journeys and Adventures: Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Approach for Early Childhood is a life saver!
This wonderful book starts out with a very useful overview of the twelve senses and how one can address these via movement (the twelve senses include the usual five plus sense of life, sense of self movement and so on).The authors then go on to discuss various animal themed movements that one can use imaginatively with young children. They address equipment such as balance beams and ladders.
The heart of the book is a series of stories, exercises and songs divided up by seasonal themes. The stories are lovely and the exercises are warm, colorful and engaging, perfectly marrying the young child's need for movement with his innate sense of imitation. So many parents I have worked with have experienced therapists approaching their little children in an overly intellectual and developmentally inappropriate way or in a coldly clinical fashion, treating the child as a disorder to be dealt with. I know that this book will be a beacon of warmth and a wonderful reality check to parents who sense what a child really needs but who need a resource to help them work appropriately with their young children. This resource is equally valuable to parents of children who do not display any challenges but who want to nurture and encourage their child's healthy growth.
My only words of caution about this book is that it is clearly written for kindergarten teachers and thus parents will need to make some adjustments. The exercises all assume a group - though many can be adapted for one child. There is also an enormous amount of preparation needed if one is to fully utilize this resource - a kindergarten teacher would expect as part of her work to do this, but at home this could be difficult. My strong suggestion is that parents considering buying this book also buy my Joyful Movement (see Nancy Blanning's review here), working back and forth between them. A parent could then use Movement Journeys for themed inspiration and work with many of the ideas and then turn to Joyful Movement for everyday at home ways to also work in a healthy way with the child's developing senses.