Developmental Movement Play (JABADAO)

Developmental Movement Play is an approach which gives opportunities for children to indulge in free-flow, child-led, spontaneous movement play. Attention is given to specific early movement patterns and activities that appear to prompt neurological development; these are innate and occur naturally in all children, given appropriate opportunities. Movement speaks louder than words for lots of children and through exploring this approach, we see children’s communication, physical movements and sense of physical space developed. Movement play is valued indoors as much as outdoors. 

At Kingfisher we call Developmental Movement Play JABADAO. JABADAO is a company of players and dancers that established themselves and the practice of Developmental Movement Play (DMP) in 1985 to create opportunities for people of all ages and energies to be exuberantly, and physically, playful.

Developmental Movement Play explores the ‘5 ways of moving’. At Kingfisher not all the children will ever independently explore these areas, due to the physical restraints of their bodies however, as the ‘helpful adult’, we can support the children within these areas of movement.

The 5 ways of moving:

  • Floor play
  • Belly crawling
  • Crawling
  • Push, pull, stretch, hang and buffeting around
  • Spin, tip, roll, fall

The children at Kingfisher, especially children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD), are totally involved in the earliest movement patterns of floor play, including front and back play; this is the child’s current level of development. Working as their ‘advocate’ we may investigate tipping and spinning for example, if we feel the children may enjoy these sensations. Working from the direction of the children and ‘listening’ to their body responses we will intuitively know if they are enjoying the movement and requesting more.