• The JABADAO Team

Research Group

There's a new JABADAO Research Group up and running and we want to share what they're talking about ...

Between 2002 and 2009 there was always a JAB Research group involved in testing the Developmental Movement Play approach. Together we did lots of thinking about some key issues around physical development - and we made some useful contributions to understanding and practice. There are certainly lots of practitioners across the country who are still work with the core ideas.

Now we’re taking it further. This time we are looking in detail at the sensory side of physical development, because we have a hunch that this is under-supported at the moment. And changing this could make a real difference to many children - especially those who we worry about most as they move on to school.

Practitioners from seven early years settings have joined us - from Morpeth, Sheffield, London, Haverhill and Ipswich. They are all doing The Feeling of Me course and then meeting weekly in a Zoom Lounge to talk about what changes because of the new understanding the course gives them.

It's a great group - some have been involved in DMP for decades, and some are new to it. They all have really useful things to say and we are so delighted to be working with them.

They started by talking about what it's like to do the training on-line. After all, it's an odd thing to do body work training on a computer ...


We’ve been doing Developmental Movement Play for a while here, since we were involved in the JABADAO Thriving Child Project ( 2002-2009!), but it’s nice to have a refresher, it opens your eyes a little bit more and we can look into each sense in a bit more depth.

Catherine (JABADAO Team):

I'm thinking that doing the course online really lets you focus on each of the body senses at once? Before, when we were teaching this material face to face all the senses came tumbling in all at once - so much information to take in quickly. Is it a real positive that in the on-line course you can really focus on one at a time …?


Yes! I don’t always absorb all the information in one hit, so it’s been really good for me to have the chance to revisit. What I’m really liking is the chance to keep revising things.And hopefully absorb and retain more. So I’m really liking that aspect.

All the Research Group practitioners start by doing the Touch Sense module It looks at Touch in a really whole-bodied way - not just touch with hands (and possibly feet) - but all the different ways our touch sense, all over our body, equips us for a life of physical ease, wellbeing and physical skill.

On the course Penny talks about 'touch as food', and how our nervous system needs different kinds of touch experience to build sensory foundations.

One thing we found really interesting, and which we hadn’t thought about in much detail, is the idea of a Touch Diet. When we reflected with the rest of the team here, we knew touch was important but we hadn’t thought of it in terms of a rich balanced touch diet. Although we provide a lot of movement for the children, do we offer enough in terms of a touch diet?

Really interesting to think about it in that way …

Creating Sensory Profiles of children is part of the course structure - starting with this Touch Sense. The Research Group, armed with new understanding about the detail of the touch sense, spent time in their settings observing their children more deeply - and brought back stories of what they had noticed.

Story time next ...