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Developing the Whole Child

by Barbara Forbes, GCFP

Feldenkrais® practitioner Kathy Yates vividly remembers the first time she heard one of her young students with special needs talk. The child turned to her mother during her Feldenkrais lesson and asked: “Can I do this every day?” For children who have been through a variety of therapeutic interventions which they did not enjoy, The Feldenkrais Method® is a revelation – as it is for their parents.

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ATM Lesson: How Do You Write?

Here is a simple way to introduce movement into your classroom without disrupting the room. It is written for grades 1-4, but the idea can be adapted to older grades as well.

Read each numbered step to your class, then pause to allow them time to experience and absorbe the effect.

  1. Take some paper and a pencil, and write a sentence. (If it’s a young child, a word, or even letters will do.)
  2. Now write the sentence again, but write it reallylarge, take up the whole page. Notice how it feels.
  3. Now write it really small. Does your hand feel different?
  4. Now write again, but this time, only use your fingers to move the pencil.
  5. Try again, but this time hold the pencil in your fist and use your whole arm to write. This doesn’t have to be neat.
  6. Which was more fun? How does it look?
  7. While you write, move your heels up and down, don’t let them stop, do you know anyone who’s always moving their feet? How does it feel when you try to write and do something else at the same time?
  8. Can you write with your eyes closed?
  9. Hold your breath and write.
  10. Write really fast.
  11. Write really slow.
  12. Now slouch. Really slump down in your chair. And write like that.
  13. Now grow tall. And write again.
  14. Can you think of different ways to write?
  15. Now just write the sentence in your normal way. How did it feel to write it this time? Did anything feel different? Look at the first sentence you wrote. Has your handwriting changed?

The students will have discovered so much themselves by doing this! You may notice the changes even serveral days later as a student experiments with variations to improve his or her writing.