Fundamental Movement Patterns of Human development

When a baby is born, it takes its first breath on its own. As oxygen fills the brain the growth of dendrites and axons, the brain's wires, begins. With tactile communication, sensory integration and bonding develops with the mother through touch and breastfeeding. Touch, movement, vision and hearing are equally important to a baby's developing brain. What may look like random wiggling and squiggling of the arms and legs is called core-distal movement.
The baby is starting to discover the world outside of itself. As this pattern becomes more organized, head-tail movement begins to develop. If babies are given exercise time on their tummies, by two months of age they can stretch their heads to see the world. This develops important neck and shoulder strength needed for good posture as well as the alignment of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
Between two-and-a-half and seven months, most babies begin to organize their upper-lower pattern. They start to press and ground their upper body (head, arms and torso) into the floor so that their lower half (legs and pelvis) can move and vice versa. Body-side articulation then happens through grounding one side and moving the other. Important weight shifting is taking place through this homo-lateral movement pattern.
This articulation of body halves through mobility and stability allows the baby to belly crawl. With a lot of practice a more mobile crawl will develop which allows the baby to move toward and away from a noise or an object. Horizontal eye tracking skill is also developing, a necessity for reading and writing.
Again, through a lot of work and practice the baby develops a sensory and motor world that leads to the next stage for pushing up to hands and knees for creeping. Through creeping the curvy little baby legs are aligned with hip sockets and feet in preparation for standing. Babies creep on hands and knees in a cross-lateral pattern. Creeping on hands and knees triggers vertical eye tracking and the convergence of horizontal and vertical eye tracking is essential for reading and writing.
The vestibular system (the balance system) plays an important role in all learning. We rely on a properly functioning vestibular system for the rest of our lives. This system that starts developing in the womb continues to develop during the first fifteen months of life through rocking, rolling, swaying and cross-lateral movements.
The environment that babies are put in determines how successful they will be in moving through their fundamental movement patterns. Babies of course need to be held in human arms but also need to be placed on a firm smooth surface on their tummies to move successfully through their patterns as they work against gravity.