• The JABADAO Team

Introducing DMP to parents ...

We’ve made 7 short films about Developmental Movement Play (DMP) to introduce the approach to parents.

DMP began with a big action research project - stretching from 1998 to 2009 - with two cycles of research in early years settings and over 1,500 practitioners involved in further small action research projects.

There were two national conferences (2007 and 2009) in Leeds, when we talked, debated, danced and played together. Baroness Estelle Morris, former Secretary of State for Education, chaired the second one - giving such gravitas to the work.

Were you involved? What good and fruitful times we had together …

Eleven years on, the DMP approach has evolved significantly as we have learnt more. But the basics stay the same - it is led by observation of children’s free flow movement play and what this tells us about what young bodies need?

Our particular approach:

  • perhaps our most important contribution is that we are movers first and foremost, with a deep trust and experience in somatic practice - that is, using body intelligence, (sensation, movement, instinct and image), as well as cognitive intelligence, to ask questions and seek answers about physical development and the body

  • this seems a good place to start when trying to find out more about the body and movement

  • and we play - in the same way young children do - to find out more, to question, to widen our understanding

  • we bring this somatic inquiry together with careful consideration and cognitive questioning of theories around physical/motor development. We dig away at some of the things that are often taken for granted, and ask - is this really how it happens? For every body?

  • and especially, how does the mainstream culture impact on the way we support / or get in the way of, physical development

We aim for a radical, contemporary approach. (More about this in future blogs.)

And we want to support a very practical, everyday way of working - in early years settings, at home, in the midst of everyday life.

Developmental Movement Play (DMP) is our offer. During lockdown we have made several short films, with parents in mind. And for early years settings who are using a DMP approach to pass on to their parents ...

  • the first is an introduction to the approach itself

  • the next 5 films look at the “Five ways of moving’ framework at the core of DMP. (If you trained with us a while ago you’ll notice some changes and updates)

  • and then a film on setting up a movement play area at home, to support and value children’s natural instinct for robust movement of many sorts, indoors as well as out

The films are introduced by Penny Greenland - founder/director of JABADAO - with big thanks to our partner nurseries, Dizzy's in Haverhill, Heathlands in Ipswich and Grace Owen in Sheffield.

The films are all on on our website: www.

and on the JABADAO You Tube channel:

Or you can catch them on Twitter and Facebook each day over the next week.

Please pass the films to anyone you think might be interested …

And as always, do get in touch to say hello, or tell us about the DMP you are supporting.

Here's the first film.