In 1957, 1958, and 1959, Bonnie was asked to give lecture / demonstrations at national meetings for optometrists. It was known that she had helped many children with “seeing difficulties” and they were interested in her physical fitness program and equipment she had designed for children.
Optometrists noticed that almost all the children who came to them because of reading difficulties didn’t have eye sight problems, but they did have difficulties with basic movement. They walked badly, had poor balance, posture and coordination and “can’t follow the leader” well.
They were also concerned that children suffering from chronic TV-itis seem to lose the basic coordination between the eye and hand so laboriously learned by the growing baby.
“When you have the basics for an important habit like walking, seeing, or listening, it becomes easier to do it well, and the more it is done well, the more it improves. Reading involves the ability to look, see, and report back to the brain. Any interruption in the chain and you have reading difficulties.
“I brought no machines to the meeting. No slides, no prisms, nothing but a ladder, two boxes, and a board. They brought the children. In an hour the children had done all the things in this book on both board and ladder and the optometrists had a new program, one that works to this day.” How to Keep Your Child Fit From Birth to Six
LESSONS OF EXPOSURE
Reading preparation like everything else such as listening, speech, music, ambition, curiosity, courage begins as soon as the child is born. Spontaneous activity needs to be encouraged…because we know that the physical is just as important to a good education as anything academic; in fact it supports the academic, and without a good body a child will never realize his or her full potential.
The baby who is crawling long distances around a room is strengthening back, arms, chest, abdominals and legs. She is also exploring the world, learning what objects feel like, how much they weigh and how big or small they are.
The equipment was designed after the many things of Bonnie’s youth. The fields and vacant lots of yesteryear usually provided “natural” apparatus such as pipes, rock piles, fallen trees, and straight up ones, and hillocks. Sadly the natural playgrounds of open lots and fields that once belonged to children have now become parking lots and belong to real-estate companies.
The ladders, sawhorses, jumping ramps, railroad tracks, wands, blocks, parallel bars, doorway gyms, and stairs of her design can be used alone, in combination, and in an endless variety of ways. They can also be made in your back yard or garage by a handy mom or dad, school shop teacher, or the local handyman.
Not only does the use of this equipment build little bodies with good posture, strength, and flexibility, but also it helps build courage, balance, coordination, team work, assurance, rhythm, self-image, concentration, independence, discipline, curiosity, good judgment, and stamina.
The following links will take you to videos about Bonnie Prudden Exercise Equipment for children ages 0 to 6, and how the equipment can be used.
Floor progressions are different ways of moving from one side of the room to the other. The basics are walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping, sliding and galloping. The doctors claim that many of the children who have perfectly good eyes don’t seem to have any connection between what they see and their brains, or in this case their muscles. Floor progressions can be used to train the child to “see” the movement and then to “reproduce” the movement they have seen. When able to do this they find it easier to translate the much smaller and abstract letters they “see” into words.
The use of the equipment and the exercises demand the cooperation of eyes, muscles, and brain… plus balance. Children exposed to apparatus and stunts have better concentration. Concentration allows the look-see-report-back-to-the-brain series to take place, and the more concentration, the better the retention.
First, their handwriting – which is controlled by muscles – deteriorated. Next, punctuation became sloppy as the mind – supported by the fatigued body – could no longer preform at its best. Finally, the thought processes became confused. The physically superior genius has the edge over the genius with a poor fitness function.
“The best gift you can give is the body that will support the life you undertook to give some months ago, the body that will support the brain, the emotions, the drives and desires… and it is your gift to give.” How to Keep Your Child Fit from Birth to Six
If you have questions or need help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®