Guest post from Baby Moves

15 Nov

We at Baby Moves are delighted to write the guest blog for the Culture Baby conference. It’s interesting to think about culture in relation to babies, do they know what culture is? Do they recognise something as high culture and sophisticated? Probably not, but they do know what they like, ask any parent!

Even the smallest of newborn babies can make choices, they can distinguish between sounds, sights, smells, textures and tastes from birth. They are naturally curious and inquisitive and want to find out about things, to discover its properties. Give any baby a choice of objects, such as a feather or pine cone, or even a washing up brush, and watch them. They will choose to pick something up, look at it from different angles, pass it from hand to hand, put it in their mouth to feel and taste, before dropping it and picking up something new. This is high end critical thinking, and we do not give babies enough credit for these thinking skills. This is the beginning of creativity and creative thinking, to play imaginatively, to explore and discover how objects feel, look, sound, taste, smell and move.

Time needs to be given to them to develop these deep skills, rather than shallow thinking, which results from a quick succession of activities. We have observed a small baby lying on his back, passing a large blue feather from hand to hand, watching it intently from all angles. Don’t be too quick to move on with activities, let them dictate the pace. This he did for 20 minutes! This is the beginning of aesthetic awareness, they are finding out about similarities and differences and discovering what they like and dislike.

This does not develop in isolation, babies love being with familiar adults and other babies, they will watch intently what other babies do and copy them, copying sounds, babbling, actions and movements. The very first thing that newborn babies find attractive is faces, research with newborn babies have shown them imitating a parent sticking out their tongue. They will watch what adults and other children do and copy their sounds, actions and movements.

There is a joy in movement for its own sake, with no other objective but that it feels good, just watch any child in a playground. However as we know, all children do benefit from movement, and it helps with their whole round holistic development and growth.

This is all culture, not something which is imposed upon them by well meaning adults, but something which they discover for themselves. Babies are always surprising us, no matter how many we work with, they are always discovering something new. There will always be new babies and they will always be doing something new. We at Baby Moves celebrate each baby’s uniqueness and individuality, and provide space and opportunity for their creativity to be expressed.

Sue Sutherland and Olwyn Maurer, directors Baby Moves




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