Courtney Corbin-Simon is a mother, former Alvin Ailey dancer and the founder of a very special infant-toddler movement program called Blooming Bébé. We have long been obsessed with Blooming Bébé’s unique class offerings that nourish healthy baby minds, bodies and bonding.
In today’s Wombs of Wisdom, Courtney shares her unique insights as a certified infant development movement educator. We hope you (not only) join her classes, but use these techniques to build baby confidence at home!
Q&A with Courtney Corbin-Simon
Q: We love the philosophies behind Blooming Bébé. Can you explain the connection of emotion and confidence through movement?
A: The mind body connection is extremely powerful and is revealed though our early experiences with touch and movement. Touch and movement are our first experiences in utero. Imagine a pregnant woman in her daily patterns. Her unborn baby is being supported in a warm environment that is constantly in motion. That mother’s touch to her belly brings calm and a sense of security to her baby while in utero. Those early experiences continue as a child develops. The emotions experienced from appropriate touch are stored in our cells and influence the way we are able to interact with other people. In Blooming Bébé classes we do a tactile exercise where we squeeze, tap and brush different parts of our bodies while singing. Doing this promotes a sense of self, an awareness to the children’s bodies getting to the root of who they are. They become more aware in their movements as well and can understand “oh, I’m moving my shoulders or belly” for example. That sense of self while moving makes the children feel good about themselves and brings more freedom to their movement patterns. It is their bodily awareness that brings about confidence.
Q: What types of movement and music resonate most with babies and toddlers?
A: Movement and music is greatly influenced by exposure. If a child has only been exposed to Baby Shark they have limited exposure to the true power of music on development. Music can teach little ones about their feelings, help them decipher patterns and solve problems and bring a rich understanding of the world around them. Nursery rhymes are very important for children’s development as they were once considered the bread and butter of early literature. Beyond nursery rhymes world music is a wonderful way to expose children to culture and different rhythms. In Blooming Bébé classes we introduce music from around the world and have live music accompaniment to help the children further connect with music. Children in classes love to move to the sounds of the djembe. I can see a shift in their body tones as they move to the vibrations and rhythms of the drum.
Q: How do you adapt your program for different age groups?
A: As a Certified Infant Developmental Movement Educator I am very mindful about age groups. I am aware that parents are sensitive to their child’s gross motor development at each respective age and try to help them feel confident about where their child is developmentally. Classes are broken into Precrawlers, Crawler and Walker groups. Our introductory class starts for little ones as young as 8 weeks. The precrawlers class is an educational platform where parents learn ways to hold, support and interact with their children for optimal development. Of course we always dance to music from around the world with our little ones in EVERY class but the approach is different for each respective class. The Crawlers have different developmental needs so we encourage continuing to work on postural control and exploring on all fours, keeping the precrawler principles in tact. In the Walker/Toddler class we really push body control and confidence through movement choices. Each class builds upon the next one but the developmental movement principles remain in tact for each class. I gauge each group according to the children’s body tones, gross motor skills as well as the parents/caregivers emotional needs in classes. Our classes truly are welcoming as we are a community!
Q: You have two gorgeous daughters! Are they following in your footsteps? Do you practice movement differently with your older girls at home?
A: Thanks so much! Both Zahra and Naila LOVE to dance and share my husband's and my passion for music. I love watching them move as they are such different movers. Naila, the youngest, is more grounded and takes risks with her movements. Zahra is very flexible and enjoys long controlled movements. Their movement choices are closely linked to their personalities.
I dance with them daily and often teach them little routines. If I notice that one of them is having a hard time learning something I immediately jump into action and have them do some developmental movement patterns without them even realizing it.
Q: Okay, I love busting a move at home, but I can’t do "baby shark"... do you have any more harmonious music recommendations for families who share the Beats Pill?
A: Haha! I don’t play children’s music at home. I think children hear it enough at school, birthday parties etc. Music in our home is always changing. Here are a couple of songs from around the world that stay on our rotation:
Courtney's Top Picks for Healthy Childhood Movement
"When teaching movement classes I talk a lot about preventing restrictions in movement patterns. Part of those restrictions stem from not allowing enough barefoot, floor time and diaper free time for infants and toddlers. Movement requires freedom and Giggle offers so many incredible items that are suitable for movement. It was hard to narrow it down but here are my top choices:"
Miller Henley Jumpsuit: If you have a child with sensory concerns this is a great outfit that is not only soft but also non-restrictive when playing on different planes - on the floor, crawling through a tunnel or jumping.
Lyla Liberty Print Romper: This is a fabulous zero restriction outfit for climbing the monkey bars in the playground, cartwheels, jumping jacks or simply taking a moment to sit and meditate.
Parker Cotton Play Set: You can do anything in the Parker cotton play set. The material is soft which should make it calming to the nervous system. This outfit is perfect for getting down low and digging in the dirt or jumping and shaking it out to your favorite tune.
"I love all of the toys where children can rock and bounce their bodies naturally which in turn stimulates your child’s vestibular system. This system is directly linked to a child’s sense of safety, survival, gravity, attention and arousal."
ROCKING: the Rabbit Animal Rocker is perfect for helping your child find balance, rhythm, build gross motor skills and stimulate their nervous systems which could result in a calmer more balanced child.
BOUCING: the Sunnylife Unicorn and Tiger Hopper will help your child build muscle tone, stimulate the nervous system and help with coordination and balance. Think about how you naturally bounce a crying baby to calm them. When a child bounces themselves it has the same calming effect.
PLAYING: this Magnetic Toy Train is perfect for working on a child’s fine motor skills, cross lateral abilities and hand eye coordination. When your child is playing on the floor encourage them to use one hand to push the train in front of them from the right side of their body to their left side of their body. Make sure they switch hands and sides. This will encourage your child to move across their midline - center of their body- which is important for connecting and activating both hemispheres of the brain. This will also develop their hand eye coordination.
To learn more about Blooming Bébé & Courtney's incredible class offerings, visit https://www.bloomingbebe.org/.