Henriette Bloch

First Step, First Gestures

In this book, Henriette Bloch sets out to show how young children spontaneously acquire the skills that will allow them to open up to the outside world, independently of the education that they will later receive.
Bloch describes the conduct and spontaneous activities of young children in order to understand their behaviour patterns, what they depend on, why they evolve and what direction they tend towards. How are the motor skills of a new-born child a first step in the exploration of the world? How do infants co-ordinate perception and action? How do they gain access to external objects and how do they manipulate them? How does their perception of space relations develop? What role does walking play? What is its contribution? Can an infant be said to build up on experiences?
Contrary to a notion that was formerly widespread, infant activities cannot be described as chaotic, aimless agitation. There is a dynamic cause-and-effect relationship between the development of infants’ activities and their growing knowledge of the outside world. These activities not only help young children to order and make sense of the world around them, making it increasingly accessible, they also help develop their psyche.

This book targets educators and psychologists as well as parents who wish to witness and understand their children’s earliest learning experiences and how they interact with their environment.

Henriette Bloch directs the Laboratory of Psycho-Biological Development and teaches at the University of Paris V.