Dr Melodie de Jager
Founder, Author and Developmental Specialist
As a young woman Melodie de Jager learnt that if you want to influence a child’s development you need to do so before 6 years of age. This prompted her studies to become a nursery school teacher. In 1982 she qualified as a nursery school teacher and became principal of a nursery school in 1984. During this time Melodie started to observe a strange phenomenon- despite great teachers, curriculums, facilities at school and involved parents some children really battled to learn and become school ready. This observation triggered a deep curiosity within her and inspired a series of studies. During the next 4 years, Melodie gave birth to 3 babies, started her studies in Educational Psychology and bought a private nursery school, which she ran until 1990.
From here on Melodie explored the psychological aspect of the human mind and qualified to present corporate training which included: mentorship, motivation, communication, customer care, profiling, motivational speaking, goal setting and the role of passion. But still, Melodie kept hearing the same question she encountered as a nursery school teacher: What enables some people to learn and prevents others from learning? After completion of her psychological studies many questions were answered but she hadn’t found the answer to her question, so she refined her question to ask: What happens INSIDE the child to enable learning, and to be receptive to learning?
Melodie studied the work of many researchers who explored the role of physical movement in developing the ability to learn. Using movement as therapy made sense to her as many therapists use baby milestones as an indicator of development, and one’s ability to learn. She was intrigued, she continued to study for many, many years, and it was while she was informally studying neurology and the innate reflex system that Melodie had finally found her answer. When conception and development progressed naturally, learning almost always followed spontaneously. She was ecstatic!
Her first book was published in 2002 and thereafter a whole series of books followed to span the years from preconception to retirement. Her first book sparked so much interest that talks, workshops, training and the formal establishment of the BabyGym® Institute (2005) and the Mind Moves® Institute (2007) followed. Two of her books, namely Play Learn Know, and ready to LEARN ready for SCHOOL were specifically written to optimise the preschool years.
Over the last 10 years Melodie has developed her scope of work to include babies, pre-schoolers, school going children, students, adults, professionals, and senior adults who want to improve themselves either physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually. Having many different titles, Dr Melodie de Jager abbreviated her title to Developmental Specialist.