Training Info

Coming March  2023

We are pleased that we are continuing  our in person training sessions again, sponsored by the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton.

Location- CES Office- 97 Hawley St Northampton MA 01060

Date- Friday March 10th 2023- 9:30- 3:30

Cost- $60.

Here’s the link to sign up

Sensory Motor Development in Young Children


This course offers an overview of what healthy brain development means, and how parents, teachers, and child care providers can use specific activities and environments to challenge and build crucial foundation motor skills. By understanding how sensory motor development shapes early behavior and learning , participants will gain new insight on how to help children attend, learn and self regulate.

Participants in this course will receive age appropriate wooden toys built and donated to each center represented. In addition, participants from the first 5 centers who sign up will also receive additional children’s toys made available this year through special funding. The toys donated help carry over the fun activities and play strategies taught in the course. View the toys at:


This is the flyer that describes the training program that I have developed in collaboration with Arlene Spooner, covering  motor development for young children.  We can be reached at for more information. Our five hour training is certified for CEU’s by the Massachusetts Association for the Education of young Children (MAEYC)


Sensory and Motor Development in Young Children (birth to five and how to help!!!)

What is typical sensory and motor development?
What do “sensory” and “motor” have to do with each other?
What does sensorimotor development have to do with behavior and learning?
Are some of the behavioral challenges you deal with everyday related to sensorimotor issues?
What kinds of games and activities help to support sensorimotor development?

Participants will learn
• Sensory motor processing and its impact on behavior and learning
• ways to recognize when there may be problems or delays,
• learning strategies including games and activities that can help when a child is having difficulty
• how certain problem behaviors may be related to a child’s difficulty with sensorimotor development.

Arlene Spooner, PT CEIS
Tom Murphy, MS/ OTR/L
The training workshop described below is now certified for 5 hours of continuing education credits by the Massachusetts Association for the Education of YOung Children (MAEYC).

The workshop is run by two long time pediatric therapists, and is intended for pre-school teachers, day care providers and parents interested in how sensory motor development impacts on young children. We provide hands on strategies to add and expand opportunities for active motor play in day care and pre-school settings, while providing the clinical background providers need to understand why it is so crucial to allow children opportunities to move and explore every day.

Arlene Spooner, PT and Tom Murphy, MS OTR/L have each run training workshops for many years, and have recently teamed up for this joint training workshop that covers sensory motor development from birth to age 5. Arlene Spooner has worked as a physical therapist in early intervention programs for 30 years, while Tom Murphy has specialized in working among pre-school age children in different capacities more than for 50 years.

Please contact Tom Murphy at for more information on these training sessions


The Importance of Sensory and Motor Development in Infants and Young Children
(And how to help!)

Participant outcomes:

Participant will be able to:

• Understand the role of the central nervous system in sensory and motor development in children from infant to age 5
• Understand how sensory motor development impacts behavior and learning
• Devise and implement games and activities to help support sensory motor development
• Describe how specific behavioral challenges that are seen in young children are related to sensory motor development and may require outside referral
• Identify how cultural, economic and social conditions can impact opportunities for children to be active and moving


Part 1- 2.5 hrs total

Introduction- agenda and goals –definition of sensory motor development- no more than 15 minutes-

Lecture/ Discussion/ Slides and Handouts; Part 1- Infant to age 3 (30 minutes) an overview of infant brain development and how this relates to early sensory and motor development and learning
• Infant development- how to infants learn about the world through their senses and through movement; sensory processing
• Review of sensory receptors, eyes, ears, touch, movement
• Neuro anatomy of sensory processing: structures and function
• Neurophysiology: neurochemicals where they come from and how to get them. ( eat sleep move)
• Developmental reflexes and their role in development.

Break- 15 minutes

Small group activity- (30 minutes) use handout: Experience developmental reflexes

Lecture/ discussion/ slides and video- (30 minutes) Postural muscle tone and core strength in infants and children

• Identifying infants and children with low muscle tone
• Impact of the environment on the development of postural muscle tone
• The importance of tummy time.
• Simple strategies to help babies enjoy tummy time.
• Identifying who may need extra help or may require referral for outside services

Summary Discussion – Connecting infant development to sensory motor development in children from age 3-5 (45 minutes); Why moving makes a difference at every age

• Why motor development is so crucial to early cognitive and pre-academic learning
• Factors that are impacting how much time children spend moving and exercising during each day- at home and at pre-school; across social, economic and cultural boundaries
• Efforts to insure safety in preschools that are impacting on opportunities for active play and exercise
• Creating opportunities for children to move and exercise every day, regardless of whether it is possible to play outside
• Behaviors that indicate a child who needs more opportunity to move and exercise
• How movement and learning about the world through the body support other learning
• Simple activities that can be built into daily routines to increase opportunities for movement and exercise in the classroom
• How gross motor (large muscle) skills support the development of fine motor (hand skills) in young children


Part 2- 2.5 hrs total

Reflection to Session 1; Why we need to move; Safe and Sedentary is not the answer!!

Demonstration/ Participation- How to get kids moving, and how to get them to stop moving (30 minutes)

• Using simple Yoga stretches and postures with young kids to improve postural muscle tone , build core muscle strength and body awareness
• Using the breath to improve postural muscle tone, core muscle strength, body awareness, attention, and speech.
• Using stability balls to build postural tone and core muscle strength.
• Simple strategies to help with development of visual skills needed for visual tracking and visual processing
• Using simple fine motor activities to build dexterity and hand skills appropriate to specific age levels and development- i.e. they can’t write till they know where their hands are!!
• Accommodations for children of differing levels of motor skills are included

Small group activity- (45 minutes) participants join in simple gross motor/ fine motor activities using simple, safe and low cost props and equipment

Break- 15 minutes

Lecture/ Video/ discussion: Visual development infants and children (30 minutes)

• Video of normal eye movements
• Looking at normal eye movements with a partner
• What happens in the visual system as the body moves
• Impact of visual motor coordination on learning and development.

Lecture and Question and Answer period- Identifying specific motor delays and concerns- 45 minutes
• How Autism, PDD (Pervasive Developmental Delay) , torticollis (stiffness in the neck muscles) , plagiocephaly (flattened head syndrome), toe-walking, and other specific conditions relate to overall motor development
• Common sensory motor problems and when is outside help needed


Arlene Spooner PT CEIS is a physical therapist has worked with children for over 35 years in early intervention, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital and in local schools. Areas of interest are infant motor development, sensory processing, early learning and behavior

Tom Murphy MS OTR/L has worked with pre-school children for more than 50 years; including as a pediatric OT at Cooley Dickinson from 1995- 2021, with a special interest in children ages 3-5. He worked for many years as a consultant for pre-schools in Holyoke, screening children for motor development and developing games and activities to help improve motor skills for this age group. He founded the Bogin Playscape Project in 2011 to design and develop innovative indoor play equipment for pre-school centers

2 Responses to Training Info

  1. Kristin Lively says:

    I have been trying to sign up for this training but the link hasnt worked. Is this training still available

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