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Going underneath the milestones

We look out for the milestones to gauge children's developing physical skills. But what if they find it hard to achieve those milestones?

Hear from people who have taken the course 

Another fantastic informative course. With my eldest being 16 and youngest just 4 it is really interesting to have this knowledge now and think back about all three of my own children’s development. For my own setting it has really made me think about connections between floor play, emotions and confidence with all tasks, not just fine and gross movement based tasks.

Kathryn Bah | Practitioner 


Completely changed the way that I look at the children in my classroom. understanding why they move and play in the way they do as child experts just makes so much sense now.

Roz Hughes | Practitioner 

I love how this course has opened my eyes to a different way of thinking. It's made me aware of my reactions to how children play and move around the setting. I'm always asking myself why? and how can I aid them? Or just observe, observe.

Karen Carter | Nursery Practitioner 

Familiar little movements on the floor have a big impact on physical development

Learn to see the detail and value in the movement experience that babies and children create for themselves on the floor.

  • Why Back Play and Side Play are as important as Tummy Play - and the detail in each

  • How the floor supports children to become grounded

  • Why bodies need to keep returning to the floor, throughout the early years and beyond, to stay in good shape

  • How Floor Play supports emotional development as well as physical development

Develop your pedagogy

Learn the theory, then observe your children to see it in action.

Get curious about why children move as they do on the floor. What are your children telling you in their bodies? Use the developmental movement theory to help you understand how to support each child's unique pathway.

Look at your setting afresh. How could you adjust the environment, or tweak your practice, to support more of the floor play experiences that children's bodies need?

Make the floor an important developmental work place

where children build and maintain

strong, connected, well organised bodies,

where they become grounded, so they can learn to fly

What do we do then?

Children like to play on the floor - lying and lolling, rolling and tussling - and it's developmentally very useful. But it can be difficult to manage in busy spaces and sometimes hard to see why it is purposeful play.

Children build (and maintain) their bodies and their physical skill through lots of little building blocks (called developmental movement), that work together to create those milestones and much more. Developmental Movement begins on day one, and lots of it happens in Floor Play. But do we recognise these little pieces of the jigsaw, their importance, and how they support more complex skills later on?

Do we adults support the vital foundation building happening on the floor. Or do we feel pressure to get children ready for school - able to sit on a chair at a table. As children get older, is it tempting to think that floor play is a kind of regression, or inappropriate for focused learning?

To fully support the process of physical development we need to understand the building blocks, the developmental movement, as much as the milestones. Then we

can support the process- rather than just ticking off the end results. This is important for all children - but will be especially relevant for the ones you are most concerned about.

Return to foundation building

Anissa is trying to hop, but she's finding it tricky.

  • She needs core strength and a sense of her spine at the centre of her body

  • The ability to shift weight to one side

  • The organisation to have one side of her body do one thing and the other something different.

Do you make sure she gets more hopping practice? subtlety (parcelled up in a game) or not so subtly (I'll hold your hands - you hop!)

These things start to build in Floor Play.

Floor Play Foundations

£42 per person

Developmental Movement Play Online

Shaping physical foundations

Join thousands using Developmental Movement Play 

Floor Play Foundations

£42 per person

1. Choose a course 

Choose a single course or grow your understanding of the full approach.

2. Press Play

Dive into a world of new knowledge about physical development.

3. Embed new practice 

Take the approach into your setting and implement immediately.

Build a package

When you've taken an on-line course, drop in to a live 'ask me anything' session with the course tutor. Bring questions, challenges, specific case studies that makes the learning completely relevant to your setting and your children.

Course Tutor 

Penny Greenland

Jabadao Director | Developmental Movement Play Specialist 

Penny is a movement and body specialist, exploring physical and felt experience across many somatic practices. She’s a thinker, a mover and driven by the goal of developing a learning culture that supports body and cognitive development equally. 


Between 1998 and 2009 she led an in-depth action research project exploring how we support our youngest children’s physicality. Developmental Movement Play was created from this research, which continues to evolve and deepen. Penny loves to share ideas and offer training at all levels.  

She is author of Hopping Home Backwards: body intelligence and movement play and a contributor to several early years text books about physical development. 

But children are on the floor all the time anyway ...

Absolutely! Babies use the floor for their first movement explorations; older children return to it as a natural place to keep working, and to stay in good shape. (And if you go to Yoga or Pilates or meditation, you will often return to the floor as well, because it is good for your body too.)


Learning the developmental material is about recognising the different things children are working on - and knowing how to support them better.


And when you know this material, all kinds of everyday behaviours that you might have wondered about for years, will fall into place ...

Nicola King | Nursery Practitioner

" It really is a fantastic course, really makes you think about so much, what stood out for me is why some children may struggle to sit, or need to move more than others and the detrimental effect of not enough floor play for babies and children physical and emotional development. Highly recommended! So lucky that all the staff at Frindiau Back Tegry Aberporth have completed or are in the process of completing this course. "

" The courses have supported me to hone in on particular movement behaviours exhibited by the children and then enabled me to reflect upon these behaviours and what they might be telling me about the child's underlying needs.


Providing these movement experiences and reflecting upon the children's underlying needs has had such a huge impact upon the children's overall development, not just their physical development but also their social, emotional, communication and even their writing development. "

Sadia Akhtar | Class Teacher

Movement Play Resources

Add a resource kit for each participating setting to receive alongside the Movement Play Area course.

Live Sessions

Build in a Live Zoom Check In after each online course to deepen the learning and develop shared pedagogy.

Online Courses

Step by step or the 4-course package. Easy to take on any device.

All you need to know about the course 

Content: 25 lessons, quizzes and downloads. Plus the opportunity to learn more about the movement in your own body if you want to, in 12 guided movement sections. Lots of photos and film on children. The lessons take 2 hours 30 to watch straight through. We recommend that you do lots of observations alongside - as part of the course - to put the learning into action.

How do I access the course? Via the Jabadao website. Create an account, log in and access the course whenever you want, through your dashboard.

Is there a CPD certificate? Yes, you'll receive a certificate on completion of all the elements of the course.

Course topics 

Module 1 - Introduction: How the course works - combining theory and body work if you want it. And a story that introduces the main themes.

Module 2 - Pedagogy: Reflect on your particular aims for physical development, so that you can use the learning on this course to augment your own ways of working.

Module 3 - A Developmental Movement Play approach: What is developmental movement? How are the reflexes involved. A child-led and play based approach.

Module 4 - Back, Side and Tummy Play: Explore 12 kinds of floor play that together build great foundations for a confident, well aligned body and a wide range of movement.


For individuals 

Select Single Pass and follow the online checkout. Create your Developmental Movement Play Account and start the course. 

For teams 

To enrol several staff members please take the Group Bookings option and one of the team will be in touch to set up your courses.

For groups, networks and local authority areas

If you want to set up training for multiple settings and advisors across a district, or within a network, please follow the Group Bookings option, one of the team will be in touch to develop a programme to match your aims.

Who is the course for? All those supporting children from 0 to 7. Nursery, playgroup and preschool staff; early years teachers and support staff; SENCOs; childminders, family workers, wider support teams - advisors, educational psychologists, speech and language therapists; occupational therapists; physiotherapists. Senior Leadership teams. Governors and Volunteers, Training can be taken individually, as team or with a group of settings.

How long can I access the course for? The course will be live on your dashboard for 3 months.

Floor Play Foundations

£42 per person


It's a hot afternoon. Isla is lying on her back the floor rocking slightly from side to side, wriggling a little around her middle, as if she is trying to burrow gently into the floor beneath her.

It would be easy to think she is just taking time out. Resting a bit in a long day. And maybe she is.

But maybe she is taking time in ... time noticing how her body feels on the inside; time noticing the ground beneath her, testing its support. There is a little reflex in her body that is designed to prompt this. Maybe she is taking up the invitation and building an important foundation ...

Take the challenge

A group of three boys fall to the floor together as they run from the sand tray to the next thing that will take their interest. Individually and together they roll and arch and curl and arch again. All with energy, vigour and delight.

There is no obvious physical skill developing here. It takes up lots of space and it looks a bit ... silly, perhaps? And, well it might quickly get out of hand.

These are the kind of thoughts that go through our adult heads when we see this kind of movement. But look again. This might be just the developmental movement these boys need right now. (Maybe in a different space.) There is core connection work going on here. As well as strengthening and aligning. And these bodies are finding out about the flexible spine as the centre of all their movement. And they are certainly finding their edges. Really important stuff.

Can we first understand the power of this movement better, then find a space where it will be entirely safe and purposeful - and watch the way it empowers these boys to develop well? Great challenge ...

Floor Play Foundations

The building blocks of physical development

Single Pass 

- Develop your practice

- Access for 3 months

- Downloads

- Certificate on completion


- Develop setting wide pedagogy 

- Access for multiple people for 3 months

- Downloads

- Certificates on completion

Floor Play Foundations

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