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Observation: Movement choices

Teaching Assistant, Primary School, Peterborough

Since the DMP course I am seeing things so differently. I asked myself, ‘If I let children get on with Developmental Movement Play themselves, in a cleared inside space, what will they choose to do?’ 


I noticed:

  • it is the floor itself, the whole empty space that children enjoy the most. They don’t bother with the apparatus; they like the space to run around in.

  • they like playing rough and tumble, roly-poly, buffeting about, banging into each other. The boys especially are very physical, they like to push and pull with each other without any apparatus. A lot of screaming and shouting goes on, especially with one little boy who is very vocal anyway.

  • children like to use different parts of their body, for example on the ball, rolling on their bellies, using their backs. A couple of boys choose the tunnel and get in it at either end so they meet in the middle, then they roll themselves in it. They like stacking the soft shapes and then knocking them over.

Children push and pull and it is what they need to be doing, yet they are usually constantly told, ‘Don’t do that, you are going to hurt yourself’. 


But the children who have come through nursery do not have accidents as they move - especially at the end of the year when they have learnt how to negotiate physically and they know how to keep themselves safe. 

There is nothing more important than children’s safety. So it is not surprising that when we talk about movement play - inside - practitioners are wary about whether it will cause more accidents. Many practitioners have kept a careful watch. Many say there are no more accidents in the book when they introduce an expanded range of movement indoors; some say there are fewer. 


They conclude that the new, ordered support for the push-pull and spin-tip play children do anyway, builds their sensory systems in helpful ways, so they are better able to take care of themselves. What do you notice?