Theses Doctoral

Adaptive Psychomotor Learning and the Young Child

Fenamore, Tara

This dissertation aimed to spotlight a prevalent issue in lifespan development and learning that is under-appreciated in educational research and practice. Many children in the United States and abroad learn to coordinate fundamental motor actions with maladaptive postural deviations that impose excessive stress and strain on musculoskeletal structures. The stabilization of maladaptive movement patterns during a critical period of psychomotor development produces non-structural sagittal misalignments of the spine, including Forward Head Posture (FHP) and Postural Thoracic Hyperkyphosis. Moreover, the reproduction of maladaptive movement patterns may be associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders and associated chronic pain conditions that impact the global public.

The researcher employed philosophical synthesis to describe and explain the adverse effects of maladaptive postural coordination on lifespan human development while amplifying its origins in early childhood. Principles from the traditions of Pragmatism and Dynamical Systems Theory are applied to develop a positive model of adaptive psychomotor learning and development that is seamlessly integrated into Early Childhood Education curriculum and learning formats.

To this end, Early Childhood Education should structure learning experiences to guide the discovery and stabilization of adaptive movement patterns that (1) accomplish fundamental action goals in the here-and-now and (2) support the health of the changing neuromuscular-skeletal system across its lifetime. Therefore, the researcher proposes a model of early learning in which the study of the body-self is seamlessly woven into all aspects of the general ECE curriculum.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Interdisciplinary Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Laverty, Megan
Athan, Aurelie
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
November 9, 2022