Support Bench By Dr. Lilli Nielsen

A support bench with materials to be placed at the head and feet of the child.
A support bench with materials to be placed at the head and feet of the child.

The Support Bench is put together to help children who are more than two years old and not yet able to sit without support. When the gross motor development is slower than the growth of the body it will be difficult for the child to achieve the stages of activities that give the ability to sit without support.

In a prone position the 6-8 month old non-handicapped child will develop the ability to coordinate the movements of the arms and legs. The ability will as time goes by develop the necessary curves of the spine and strengthen the muscles of the back. The result will be that the child can sit without support.

To give a child who is developed in the motor field to the level of 6-8 months, but in the same way much older, the possibility to go through the stages mentioned above the child is placed on the stomach on top of the “Support Bench” in such a height as it is needed for arms and knees to be move freely. A head support can be provided for children with only little head control.

To motivate the movement of the child you can spread out objects in front of the “Support Bench” so the child occupies himself with them. The wheels should only be attached to the Support Bench after the learner has achieved the ability to co-ordinate the movements of arms and legs in a pattern of crawling.


Lilli Nielsen, 1993, SIKON: Early Learning – Step by Step.

Lilli Nielsen, 1998, SIKON: The FIELA Curriculum – 730 Learning Environments


Science Lesson Using a Support Bench

In this video we see Jack at play on a Support Bench with a tub of water and rocks under his hands and a tub of soil and pine cones. He explores these items alone at first, and then Patty Obrzut joins him for an adult-child interaction time.

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Kassidy on a Support Bench

Kassidy is positioned on a Support Bench with a variety of items placed under her hands and feet. Patty Obrzut holds a small metal bowl in position so Kassidy can touch it with a the small vibrator in her hands.