Observations: Helpful Resources
Project Worker, Home School Link, Laindon, Essex
We regularly have three five year-olds who spend an hour or so at the centre after play school, waiting for their mothers to finish work. Generally they spend time playing with soft play equipment, watching videos, or drawing. Today, I arranged for soft mats to be available when they arrived and informed them that the mats were for movement and they were very welcome to use them.
The invitation was greeted with much enthusiasm and joy. Immediately, all three began to invent different ways of rolling and spinning. For about ten minutes they very much enjoyed forward and backward rolls, spinning and log rolls. Then they collected various items of the soft play equipment to make an obstacle course to travel along...
New toys were delivered today including lycra bags – square tubes to get inside, with a hole for the head. At the end of a session, when everything else had been packed away, four children between 2-4 years old put them on. All four took great delight in tumbling around the floor, rolling, spinning and jumping. Their excitement was infectious and their mothers encouraged them enthusiastically.
I think if the children hadn’t been wearing the lycra bags they would not have been encouraged to scamper round the room in the same way - but told to stop racing around. The lycra bags gave the adults the freedom to allow the children to play as they wished.
Since a Developmental Movement Play approach starts with the idea that babies and young children are hardwired to build their physical development, we adults have a different role from organising how they move. (Although there are some lovely reasons to organise games and moving times as well.) Our role is to be Helpful Adults - and one of the most helpful things we can do is create an environment that bodies and movement. Good mats and the right open-ended resources are fundamental …