Sarah Barnaby and Amy Matthews, who are both Infant Developmental Movement Educators (IDMEs) trained through the School for Body-Mind Centering, created Babies Project in 2015 as a partnership in offering developmental movement to babies and adults. We offer sessions where parents and caregivers spend time learning and practicing skills for supporting, handling, and being with their babies – and infants get to explore, play, sleep, cry and be witnessed in a supportive, spacious environment. The sessions are facilitated by Amy, Sarah and other IDMEs. We also offer developmental movement classes and workshops for adults.
We (Amy and Sarah) have taught Babies! since 2015 – Amy started the class at The Breathing Project in 2008. Since then we’ve served hundreds of babies and their caregivers for free, or at very low cost. Since 2015, Amy and Sarah have also co-taught an Adults class at The Breathing Project, which explores developmental movement in the context of adult bodies.
MORE ABOUT BABIES! SESSIONS
In our Babies! sessions, we educate parents and caregivers in supporting and handling their babies. Together, we observe the babies’ movement and general development, and help the caregivers learn and practice ways to hold, pick up and set down their little ones.
We also have been trained in the hands-on skills to directly facilitate the babies in a way that helps them find their way toward their next developmental level.
Read about our principles, which are based on the Body-Mind Centering® approach to infant developmental movement, originally developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.
OUR BABIES PROJECT SPACE
The Breathing Project, an educational non-profit that offers anatomy and movement education, ended its programming in July 2017 and planned to close its space in the NoMad neighborhood of NYC. (See the announcement.)
This space had served as an “incubator” for Babies Project as we grew Babies! classes into the thriving hive they’ve become. Amy and Sarah decided to try to keep the space in order to nurture the growth of our project — the location is central and easily accessible via public transit, it is known to caregivers who have brought their babies here over the years and it’s also familiar to the many yoga and other movement teachers and practitioners who have studied anatomy and movement here over the years.
In May 2017, Amy and Sarah completed a successful first round of fundraising to support and grow Babies Project. We raised over $50,000 from almost 250 donors — this has enabled us to remain in the current space, to sustain our continuing operations and to expand our programming to serve many more babies and families. Having a home base will allow us to build local community AND offer free Babies! sessions to underserved communities through outreach programs.
We’ve incorporated Babies Project and established our educational non-profit status. We’ve renovated our space to help accommodate more classes to serve more babies and caregivers.
Our approach to working with infants and their caregivers stems from a philosophy that applies to everyone. We believe that while the first year is crucial in supporting optimal development, we can revisit developmental movement patterns at any age – including as adults – in order to find more support and become more resilient.
We’ve heard many touching and powerful stories about what coming to Babies has meant for our caregivers and babies. You can read them here. We’ve also heard from adults who have explored developmental movement with us – read about their transformational experiences here.
How would it be if more people had tools to find comfort and cultivate their ability to self-regulate? What if we were all encouraged to learn by following our curiosity, rather than by being pushed to reach milestones? Imagine a world where process and experience were prioritized over getting it right!
Our work with developmental movement reflects questions about teaching and education that we believe apply to everybody (not just babies):
- How can we support a sense of agency in every student (babies to adults) and create an environment of comfort and curiosity?
- How can we change the educational paradigm to value movement and relationship?
- How can we facilitate learning that includes experimentation and allows new strategies to arise?
- How can we prioritize process and experience over a linear approach to achieving milestones and “getting it right”?
We created Babies Project as a way to engage with these questions. We offer classes, workshops and one-on-one sessions for babies, caregivers and adults of all ages who are interested in having more agency, comfort and curiosity in relationship to their bodies, the environment and each other.
Body-Mind Centering® and BMC℠ are service marks of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, used with permission.