Penny is the founder of JABADAO – the national centre for movement play. The team’s work is currently focused on the early years, exploring how physical development unfolds – and helping early years practitioner to see more of what their children’s bodies are telling them.
In this interview, Penny explains how ‘school readiness’ is a process and not a destination and without the firm foundations that the higher order skills (including sitting still and fine motor control) will be so much more difficult for children. Penny has lots of great ways that Early Years settings and schools can tweak their environment to include things that support developmental movement play to build children’s physical development and increase their mental wellbeing as well. These are often small changes with huge benefits, such as a magnificent floor!
As this is a longer discussion, we were also able to talk about beyond the Early Years and how a lack of good physical foundations could affect later cognitive learning in schools as well as our own ‘body intelligence’. Suppressing and restricting the physical processes at a young age will, inevitably, affect the cognitive processes as well. Penny outlines the ways that we can ‘listen’ to children’s bodies and movements through informed observations and understanding children’s physical development processes.
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