The Challenge of Changing Terrains

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Stepping down a stair or running off the edge of a patio comes second nature to even young children. But have you even thought about the micro-decisions that a child must make to negotiate a changing terrain? Some of these decision are rather profound in their complexity and timing, such as throwing back the arms to counterweight the torso in order to keep it upright as the child steps down a level. If you say, "The brain just does this automatically" realize that this automaticity came slowly and consciously prior to skilled movement. Enjoy this video with voice over, slow motion, and freeze frame that pinpoints where the children are making clever micro-decisions. We think that movement is another place to "see what children know." Movement builds muscles, but it also requires the application of intelligence on the fly.

Length of stand alone master video clip: 4 minutes

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Keywords: Body, Gross Motor, Spatial Relations, Physics