Playing with Posture: Positive Child Development using the Alexander Technique
by Sue Holladay
In this book Sue shows how the Alexander Technique can help parents and carers improve their children’s posture and learning capabilities. The value and essence of the Technique is easily and clearly communicated by the use of simple examples, activities and games that benefit the whole family.
Ideal for Alexander Technique teachers to read for themselves and to recommend to parents.
Playing with Posture is in a readable, direct and chatty style with eleven chapters: 1) Introduction, 2) Foundations, 3) Not so Common Sense, 4) Alexander and Positive Child Development, 5) Mapping the Body, 6) Reset and Restore, 7) Putting it into Practice, 8) Thinking in Action 9) School Life, 10) The Home Environment, 11) Conclusion, plus an Appendix of over 40 Games.
Sue Holladay's little book "Playing with Posture" is an inspiration for everybody who has children of their own, or who works with children, and want them to develop according to their best abilities. It gives a clear and concise introduction to the Alexander Technique, and has a lot of great tips on how parents and teachers can stimulate good use in their children, and accommodate life for them so that they don't end up stressed and collapsed.
The book is an important addition to the Alexander literature. There are not many writings on how the Alexander Technique can be used with children. This is puzzling considering how much emphasis F. M. Alexander himself put on this work. In 1924 he founded "The Little School" together with Irene Tasker, a trained Montessori teacher. Here the emphasis was to teach the children good use of tehmselves along with the schoolwork.
"Playing with Posture" is written in an informative and concise style. It is covering a lot of information in a short space. The author outlines the history of F. M. Alexander and the foundations of the Technique. There is a chapter on the development of the child, how to "map" the body and forming a clearer picture of how our bodies work. Then she moves on to putting the Alexander Technique into practice. She describes the challenges of youngsters today and shows other ways parents and teachers can go about things, with the Alexander principles in mind. How can we help children use themselves better without imposing on them? She includes tips on how to talk about the Technique to children - one has to simplify and make it fun and appealing, and she does that through suggesting phrases like: "Wait! Now let's grow tall! Smile with our bodies! Shazzan!" and "Stop, Think, Act".
At the end of the book you will find a list of games that can be used with children to encourage them to become more aware of themselves and their surroundings. One might object that it is difficult to see what connection these games actually have to the Alexander Technique. The games might not directly convey the principles of the Technique, but if they are played with the Alexander principles in mind, as the author is encouraging us to do - they will indirectly promote a much greater sense of awareness, of the body, and of how children use themselves in relationship to each other and the world.
I find "Playing with Posture" to be an indispensable little book for parents and people who work for children. Sue Holladay manages to put the Alexander Technique in a broad perspective. In addition to explaining the fundamental principles in a very clear and tangible way, she gives us a sense on how useful the Technique is in all aspects of life, and especially of what value it has when it comes to help our children to develop in the best possible way.
This is a book to return to whenever you need practical tips on games to play with children, words to use when you talk to your children - and for encouragement and hope for the future generation. By Camomelia