Penny Greenland MBE started out as a dancer and choreographer, trained in movement therapy, and in 1985 founded JABADAO the national centre for movement play where she has led projects in early years, special education and dementia settings ever since. She’s developed many projects and courses within education, health and social services settings focusing on the way we human beings learn, and maintain our wellbeing, in our bodies as well as in our intellects.
She is author of Hopping Home Backwards: body intelligence and movement play, editor/contributor for What Dancers Do that Other Health Workers Don’t and a contributor to several early years textbooks.
Between 1998 and 2009 she led an in-depth action research project exploring the way adults support young children’s (0-6) physicality; and created a new training based on the findings – a child-led, play-based approach, subsequently adopted in many settings across England and Wales, called Developmental Movement Play. This goes beneath the milestones and explores how the earliest movement creates foundations for a lifetime in a body.
Penny has recently completed filming the Developmental Movement Play courses so they can be taken online.
Penny was awarded an MBE in 2000.
In this interview we discuss the mission of Jabadao, as well as the meaning of the word, and how Developmental Movement Play was developed. Penny explains how this is a movement concept that meets children where they are at, rather than their age, and how understanding the environment that you provide for children will affect their movement. For example, the difference a firm surface for babies to lie on can make; magnificent surfaces for children to move on; how an indoor movement play area is core to the Jabadao approach; the significant differences that understand and implementing the approach can make to practitioners, educators and teacher’s practice with all ages of children.
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