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Early Years Series: Jabadao

I couldn’t do a blog series on Early Years Dance without featuring Jabadao – the national centre for physical play.  Jabadao was established in 1985 with the purpose of encouraging people of all ages to involve themselves in playful activity, and they are amazing!  I’ve been on several of their training courses and have been blown away every time by their knowledge, expertise and passion for what they do!  I have listed below 3 very good reasons you need to know about Jabadao.

1: Their approach to movement and dance

Much of the emphasis of their work is on movement play, a term they use to mean:

“goal-free, not-about-any-kind-of-technique or skill, created-in-the-moment, physical play

that people of any age might engage in. It can include a wide range of different kinds of

movement – it might be very physical or very tiny. It is usually about playing with other

people – and practitioners who create opportunities for movement play have a distinct set of

skills that marks this out as a separate way of working. It is always about life in very limb and

it’s ultimate aim is always happiness – (with many ways of coming at this best of aims)”. [1]

Jabadao is interested in movement that supports children development, physically, emotionally and in many other ways too.  Their approach fascinates and inspires me.

 2. Their research

The organisation conducted a 10 year research project which investigated the way the early years sector supports babies and children to be fully physical. Working alongside partnerships within early years settings, Jabadao practitioners were able to evidence substantial benefits that spontaneous movement play has on children’s well-being.  For the executive summary and the full report, click here

3. Their resources

If you’ve attended one of JumpStart’s training courses, or we’ve visited your school, you may well have seen us using large squares of lycra, elastic scrunchies or colourful feathers.  These resources are invaluable to early years dance sessions – they help to engage children in the sessions and encourage open-ended movement activities.  These can all be purchased from Jabadao’s online shop and are extremely good quality – we know, we’ve tried and tested them with hundreds of children!  And we’re not on commission from Jabadao either.  We just know how good they are.  The company also sell books, journals and music so it’s a great place to get new ideas from.   Their online shop can be accessed here


[1] The Jabadao Approach

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