As young children we have grace and freedom of movement. Toddlers bend, squat, and reach with ease, and sit effortlessly on the floor in an upright position. By the time they go to school, many children find it difficult to sit on the floor without slumping, and they start developing round or hunched shoulders. Consequently their natural poise and co-ordination become impaired.
The teenage slouch can cause twists in the spine and tension in the neck. Teenagers experience growing spurts and find it difficult to know how to adapt to these changes. They often try to minimize their stature by sinking down, pulling the shoulders forward, and slumping into chairs. In addition to the postural difficulties already mentioned, children are often under tremendous pressure to become achievers in all kinds of activities and have to act speedily to keep up with adults.
Several children were sent to FM Alexander with various difficulties. Some had asthma, scoliosis, or reading difficulties. As a result, he set up a special school to help children between the ages of 3 and 18 years. The school was run following the principles of the Alexander Technique. Activities during the day were varied to cope with concentration. Children were encouraged to sit on smaller and lower furniture to enable them to work with ease. Alexander’s approach was to encourage thinking and awareness. He worked with small groups, chatting to the children and giving them individual turns by skilfully using his hands to enhance the “use” of the child.
All qualified teachers of the Alexander Technique are able to work with children and help them retain their natural balance and poise.
- Sue Holladay, Play with Posture (Positive Child Development using the Alexander Technique), First published in 2012, by HITE, London, United Kingdom.
- Gal Ben-Or, Directions for Life (Alexander Technique for Children and Youth), First edition 2011, Israel.
- Aisa Masterton, Alexander Technique: A Step-by-Step Guide, First published in 1998 by Element Books Limited, Great Britain.