Alexander Technique for Children and Teenagers
The Alexander Technique is a wonderful way to support psychophysical health and wellbeing
As the demands are high in performance in all levels of education, and as children unconsciously pick up postural and behavioural habits from the adults that surround them, it is important that children avoid developing psychophysical habits that alienate them from an awareness of how they use themselves.
Addressing the damaging effects of carrying heavy bags, inappropriate school chairs which promote slouching when sitting to do their homework, and intense emotional reactions due to highly competitive and demanding tasks, the Alexander Technique is here to help children grow while maintaining a good relationship with their body and mind.
On a physical level symptoms such as back pain, growing pains, feet and legs issues are worked on, and prevented. Children can learn how to have a healthy poise and trust their postural balance. On a psychological level, children are taught how to recognize overload and stress (caused by various factors: overcrowded classrooms, high demands and worries concerning achievement,etc), thus guided towards an awareness of what constitutes a good use of themselves, and become able to direct their attention constructively.
F. Matthias Alexander, the originator of the Alexander Technique, recognized this kind of problem and maintained that the Technique should be taught to young children so they could avoid taking on harmful physical habits from the start. As is the case in so many other areas, prevention is far more efficient and far less time-consuming than changing deeply ingrained habits in adult students.
One of Alexander’s students was Professor John Dewey, the American philosopher and founder of the school of philosophy known as Pragmatism. Dewey was also very influential in the development of American education during the first half of the 20th Century, and was sometimes called “The Father of American Education”.
From his own experience with the Alexander Technique, it was clear to Dewey that Alexander was right, that the Technique ought to be taught to children. Here’s what he had to say about this:
"(Alexander's) discovery would not have been made and the method or procedure perfected except by dealing with adults who were badly coordinated. But the method is one of remedy; it is one of constructive education. Its proper field of application is with the young, with the growing generation..."