University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover

Critical Learning Through Movement:
Infants and Toddlers Exploring Their World

EDHD 5300
Earn a Continuing Education Certificate
(42 clock hours) or 1 Academic Credit


Toddler toddlingThis course explores the influence of physical activity on learning/cognitive and social-emotional development in infancy and toddlerhood. In the early years, movement is developmentally essential for laying a strong foundation for brain development. Practical application will focus on the concept of viewing dynamic systems as a crossroads for maturational theory and evidence-based practice. In the end, the goal is an understanding of the physical activities of early development that lead to a positive developmental trajectory for each baby and toddler.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand early brain development and the impact this has for movement in infancy
  • Understand brain function/growth and development as stimulated by movement for learning motor skills, cognitive skills, and social-emotional skills of infancy and toddlerhood
  • Understand the concepts of the expression of a range of normal development and the critical role of an actively engaged adult for early childhood learning
  • Understand the main theories of human development currently framing the understanding of appropriate physical activities for infants and toddlers

The course is divided into eight learning modules:

Unit 1: Introduction

Unit 2: Nature Nurture

Unit 3: Basic Brain Development: Neurons to Neighborhoods

Unit 4: Movement in Infancy and Toddlerhood: Involuntary to Voluntary

Unit 5: Theories of Human Development and Motor Development

Unit 6: Best Practice in Infant Toddler Movement Skill Performance

Unit 7: Domain Development and Movement Skill Performance

Unit 8: Infant Locomotion and Reach-Grasp-Release

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

Next Session: June 23 to August 4, 2014 (6-week summer session)


For 42 clock hours: $290 registration fee

For 1 academic credit: $350

Registration Information

To register for clock hours:

  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register and pay online. You will receive a confirmation of registration.
  3. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

NOTE: If you desire a certificate for administrative clock hours, you must email a request to Karen Anderson at PRIOR to the start of the session. We must submit administrative clock hour requests to the Minnesota Department of Education and they will not accept requests after the course has begun.


To register for academic credit:

There is a two-step registration process. You must complete both steps in order to fully and completely register for this course. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

  • Degree-seeking students currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota may not use our for-credit courses toward their degree program. Should a currently enrolled student choose to register for academic credit, the student may be subjected to additional University fees.
  • Degree-seeking students enrolled in schools other than the University of Minnesota wishing to use our course as an elective must directly seek prior approval from their degree program.
  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register online.
  3. Complete and submit the Registration Request for Graduate Credit form. Closely follow the instructions on page 1 since they differ from what is listed on the form and the instructions on page 1 streamline the process for you (e.g., do NOT register via OneStop; send your Grad Credit Request form to CEED, not the University). For summer session, this form must be received in CEED's office no later than June 9, 2014. CEED will obtain the appropriate approval signatures and forward your form to One Stop Student Services.
  4. When the University processes your request form, you will receive a confirmation mailing (via USPS) from One Stop Student Services with information regarding your student account and payment. You must activate your student account for both payment and to use in logging into the course site.
  5. On the Friday before the session begins, you will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site.

Required Materials

Your readings are included on the course site. You are required to rent and view a documentary called Babies (available online for a small fee). No additional materials are required for purchase.

Carol Leitschuh, Instructor

Carol LeitschuhCarol Leitschuh, Ph.D. is a Fulbright Scholar specializing at CEED 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 America and abroad publishing Special Physical Education now in the 10th Edition. With a United States 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 2 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. For consultations including speaking engagements or trainings, contact Carol Leitschuh at

Dr. Leitschuh authored and instructs the online courses Critical Learning Through Movement: Infants and Toddlers Exploring Their World and Preschoolers in Movement: Exploring Their World.

Comments from Participants

  • My goal when enrolling in the class was to learn more about motor development, which to me really meant the milestones and how we build skills. I came away with much more than a few ages and stages, though I did get that information too. Now I have a greater appreciation for movement as an indicator and as a stepping stone to growth in all areas of development.
  • Thanks so much for the course. It gave me lots of good information and thinking material! The course was a sane place to in a crazy fall!
  • I've loved the information in the lectures and readings and would have to place this course in the top three most valuable courses I've taken. Thank you for putting together this brilliant class.
  • The course has been a very engaging and renewing experience for me.  I've  enjoyed the make up of the class---the way the lectures and reading were constructed and the way the homework really was more an application than a recitation of learning. Thanks for the real learning experience.

Upcoming Sessions

  • Spring 2014: March 10 to May 12, 2014 (9-week session)
  • Summer 2014: June 23 to August 4, 2014 (6-week session)
  • Fall 2014: September 15 to November 17, 2014 (9-week session)

Related Resources


If you have further questions our would like a copy of the syllabus, please contact Karen Anderson, CEED Online Course Manager, at 612-625-6617 or

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Last modified on February 21, 2013.