Why do occupational and physical therapists care so passionately about “babies exploring their environment” via rolling and crawling?
Why do first grade teachers often have students march in place during the first days of a new school year to assess which students may need extra help with learning to read?
There are some babies that learn by observation and it won’t matter to cognitive development if they do not explore their environment via rolling and crawling.
There are other babies whose brains will not develop optimally if they are lacking the frequent experience of solving problems, active curiosity, and cause and effect. Things like “how do I get to that toy?” “what will daddy do if I touch the little holes in the wall?” and so on. These babies are embodied learners. That is they need the actual experience and the trial and error for their brains to optimally develop the patterns that control such things as focus, bilateral integration necessary for reading, and so on.
When we see a baby that is 9 months old and can sit, but not roll or crawl, occupational and physical therapists are concerned. That baby is dependent on others to bring them toys and can explore an area of about 10 x 10 in front of them. Their counterpart, the roller and crawler is regularly exploring areas of 10 x 10.
Here are 2 articles. One is written in more layman terms. The other is from researchers at the University of Chicago, it mirrors what we see in the clinic every day.
Please let me know your thoughts and whether this makes sense or needs further explanation! Thank you!