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11 February 2010
By Chris Harby Melton Mowbray Times
ENCOURAGING a baby to crawl may seem the infant's equivalent of teaching your granny to suck eggs.
But Melton-based company SAQ International believes this instinctive human behaviour is being stifled and are promoting the world's first totally accessible programme to enable children to revisit movement patterns not mastered as babies.
If left unchecked they believe it could potentially stunt vital early brain development.
The pioneering programme, called Early Essential Movement Patterns (eEMP), sees SAQ International working with pre-school children and primary school pupils aged four to seven.
Research suggests following just five simple movement patterns has dramatic long-term benefits, not just for health and fitness, but also the classroom.
SAQ's education and training director David Hawkins having been made aware of the latest nuero-science resesarch, set about finding a practical solution to the growing trend of pre-school children not developing sufficiently well enough to be ready for formal learning in school.
He said: "In the first year of life, a child spends 600 hours in a container - be it a buggy, cot or car seat. There is a direct link between how the brain develops and movement.
"Sixty per cent of brain growth takes place in the first six years of life so if you don't move in those years, it is going to make things very difficult."
SAQ say there is substantial evidence that by performing all of these patterns a typically developing pre-school child will be ready for formal learning.
It has been piloted in just a handful of schools, but has borne promising results already. A Leiscestershire Primary School saw it's value added Key Stage 1 sats results achieve consistently above county averages as it embraced the eEMP programme together with high quality PE and physical activity provision.
David added: "To get all of the brain pathways linked up correctly, children need to get back on the ground and do basic movements such as rolling, rocking and crawling.
"Crawling is so important. If you miss out on that it will inhibit what you will learn going forward. Too many kids aren't wired up properly for this reason so they can't access formal education."
The nationally accredited course has already attracted interest in Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
SAQ MD Alan Pearson added: "This is a world leading programme, the first of its kind and we are very excited about it.
"These programmes are early intervention which is what SAQ is all about - it saves so much money in the long run which can be spent on other priorities further down the line."
The programme revolves around five movement patterns.
Rolling in a straight line teaches infants the concept of top and bottom, while the crawling like a crocodile teaches left and right.
The cross-lateral crawl, using the right arm and left leg at the same time, is said to be a pre-cursor of running.
David was a PE teacher for 22 years, but became gradually concerned traditional methods of teaching physical education in school were not achieving success for all children.
"I joined SAQ 10 years ago when I realised my children couldn't access the national PE curriculum because they hadn't got the fundamental skills in place such as balance, dodging, running, skipping, hopping, throwing and catching."
SAQ International have since embedded SAQ Fundamental Movement and Special Education Movement programmes into thousands of schools.
David added: "Every early years practitioner, primary and secondary school teacher should have access to this information.&n