Infant Toddler Movement and Brain Development: Understanding the Critical Connection

Movement is essential for laying a strong foundation for brain development. In this course, explore how physical activity influences learning, cognitive, and social-emotional development in infancy and toddlerhood.

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Earn 42 clock hours

No sessions are currently scheduled.

Learning objectives

  • Understand brain function, growth, and development as stimulated by movement for learning motor skills, cognitive skills, and social-emotional skills of infancy and toddlerhood.
  • Learn how early brain development impacts movement in infancy.
  • Understand the critical role of an actively engaged adult for early childhood learning.
  • Explore the human development theories that frame our understanding of appropriate physical activities for infants and toddlers.

Who should register

  • Professionals working with infants and toddlers
  • Parents of infants and toddlers

This online course is approved by the Minnesota Center for Professional Development to count toward career lattice steps.

What to expect

  • The course is instructor-led with feedback and interactions provided.
  • All activities and assignments for this course are asynchronous and online. Nothing takes place in real time.
  • You have access to the course site 24/7 and can fit your work on the course into your schedule.
  • Activities and assignments include readings, videos, discussion board, recording videos using an online tool called FlipGrid, and reflection papers.
  • You are expected to participate fully and abide by weekly submission due dates for assignments and activities.

Knowledge and competency areas

The early childhood competencies are those used by MN – ACHIEVE’s knowledge and competencies framework.

  • Child development and learning
  • Creating positive learning experiences
  • Promoting cognitive development
  • Promoting social and emotional development
  • Promoting physical development
  • Observing, recording, and assessing development
  • Establishing healthy practices

Meet the instructor

Headshot of Carol LeitschuhCarol Leitschuh

Carol Leitschuh, PhD, is a Fulbright Scholar specializing in early childhood movement for children with atypical and typical movement patterns. Her international expertise is brought to focus in both theory and practice to readily be used across cultures and family contexts. For very young children, movement experiences are seen as critical in addressing positive developmental trajectories and avoiding cumulative risk. Dr. Leitschuh’s expertise is in assessment and evaluation. She is recognized as a special education scholar in the U.S. and abroad publishing Special Physical Education now in the 10th Edition. With a U.S. Department of Education grant, Dr. Leitschuh developed a valid and reliable monitoring tool of infant/toddler movement referred to as the Individual Growth and Development Indicator for Infant/Toddler Movement (Movement IGDI). The tool is used for two minutes in a standardized observation and is reported to be highly and significantly correlated with an overall comprehensive assessment of motor skills at these young ages.

Required materials

Participants will be asked to rent and view the documentary Babies (available online for a small fee).

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation two weeks or earlier before the start of the session: Full refund less $25 administrative fee
  • Cancellation less than two weeks before the start of the session: No refund will be provided.

To cancel, send an email to Karen Anderson at

CEED reserves the right to refuse/cancel a registration due to low enrollment, a prerequisite not completed, or other circumstances making the registration nonviable. In the event of a course cancellation, registrants have the option to receive a full refund OR to transfer the registration to the same course held in a future session. CEED will accept substitutions for attendees.


Contact Karen Anderson, online course manager, at

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