Developmental movement play

Between 2003 and 2013 Kate was involved in a jabadao research project called The Thriving Child Project. Jabadao (Centre for Movement Studies) worked closely with the Children’s Centre where Kate was based, and the project identified the positive impact Developmental Movement Play has on children’s all round learning and development. Developmental Movement Play is a term created by Jabadao to describe a neuro-developmental, child-led, play-based movement approach.

Developmental Movement Play involves giving children the freedom to move their bodies in lots of different ways which gives children opportunities to engage in innate movement patterns that Jabadao’s research project have identified have a very powerful impact on children’s brain development. During everyday play, children enjoy moving their bodies, such as wriggling, rolling, toe flicking, crawling, spinning, tipping and tilting (hanging upside down). Jabadao empowered practitioners involved in this project to fully support and value children’s movements within their educational settings “from the moment they are born, babies are busy building their brains and the earliest brain building is supported by their movements” (Jabadao 2012).

Here at Kirkgate Childcare, we acknowledge, value and celebrate that children like to move all the time, wherever they are in nursery, both inside and outside and that children’s learning through movement is happening across all areas of provision. We also provide a designated space called our ‘Movement Area’ which gives children a safe and consistent space to explore their innate movement patterns. We believe that the movement area enhances our inclusive practice as it gives ALL children an easily accessible place to be able to engage in developmental movement play at their own pace, in their own unique way and allows everyone to participate at their own level.  

The full Thriving Child Project Report is available on the JABADAO website –

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