Our awareness of ourselves in relation to the space around us is only partially provided by eyes and ears. What we see and what we hear combine with information from the vestibular system to tell them brain if you are moving, balanced, and so on. Then the brain responds with motor, language and arousal responses. In this way, athletes, dancers, and others who are constantly giving their body and senses new experiences have more developed vestibular systems than today's majority sedentary population. This contributes to (but does not necessarily cause) the rise of response disorders such as ADD, ADHD, and other socially difficult behaviors.
In previous generations there were many more activities that developed the vestibular system: swinging on an old tire hanging from a tree, climbing, jumping and running, rolling down a grassy hill, spinning or dancing are all examples of activities that have been replaced by screen time to day. Even in school there has been a massive decrease in recess and physical activities.
In our Musikgarten classes, we pay special attention to vestibular development through both dances, and stationary movement activities. Understanding that movement and learning are inextricably linked, we provide opportunities for your child to engage his or her body for deep-seated learning to take place. Many of our stationary movement activities provide your child with opportunity to develop balance, as well as to explore spatial concepts such as high, low, in, out, up, down. We also extend this to "my space" and "your space" to link vestibular development with social skills.
All these components are crucial because the ear's primary purpose of providing a sense of balance with spatial awareness must be fulfilled before it can get on with its secondary purpose of hearing. Scientists would put it this way: vestibular function precedes auditory function.
By prioritizing vestibular function, we give your child a balanced foundation for both learning through listening, and healthy social participation through a well-developed response system.
As we have resumed classes this week, watch for some of these factors with your child, and encourage movement that promotes vestibular development.