Observation: Movement Play at home
Parent Volunteer, Children’s Centre, Skelmersdale
I work as a parent volunteer at Sure Start, with very young mums. I talk about Developmental Movement Play as a way to play with their babies. I am explaining the importance of time on the floor for their babies, time to explore, time to do their natural movements, to give opportunities to get the learning in early.
The JABADAO DMP course came at the right time for me as my youngest child was just nine months. With my older children, if they cried on their tummies I was quick to pick them up. With my youngest, knowing that she will benefit, I am more content to leave her - to encourage her to stay on the floor to go through all the movements for herself.
I did have my three older children in baby walkers and they were in a pram for longer periods both for safety and convenience. With my youngest I have allowed her to have more floor time to explore and I am interested to watch her movement developing.
I have noticed that she has an instinct to look after herself as she moves on the floor – I can see her brain thinking ‘I can get round this’ as she comes up against the door frame. Before I would have jumped up to help her. Now I give her time to work it out herself. Although she is only eleven months old she is doing her own risk assessment as she moves on the floor.
I made my living room into a movement area for my four children. Cleared the space - put down a gym mat, a tunnel, soft balls from the £1 shop, scarves, balloons, bought a mirror downstairs – had music playing, fast and slow and the first time they used it, they looked like ‘Are we allowed?
They all played, the girls liked the mirror, parading with the scarves and my four year old, explored everything. It made me conscious that he loves throwing.
Often, practitioners who come on courses start thinking about their own children at home, as well as the children in their care at work. We can learn such a lot from watching our own children and support other parents to rethink movement play in really practical, every day ways as a result.