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Why Care about Movement?

By Nicole Land

We opened our research with the question, why care about movement? From there, we are thinking with three entangled questions, in three different spaces: how do we do moving as communicating? How do we move well together with/in the yard? And, how do we practice noticing while walking together?

Our question – why care about movement? – amid status-quo developmental conceptions of movement in early childhood education in Ontario, is easily answered by existing documents: toddlers and preschoolers need to be physically active for at least 180 minutes per day (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s 24 Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years); movement improves children’s physical development, helping children to increase their activity levels, endurance, and skills (Early Learning for Every Child Today: A framework for Ontario early childhood settings); movement is a way of showing engagement, expression, and inquiry, and supporting physical health and wellness (How Does Learning Happen: Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years). Documents beyond the province, that are offered by national physical education and kinesiology organizations, have answers as well: movement builds physical literacy and physical literacy is how children “develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to enable them to participate in a wide variety of activities” (Physical Health and Education Canada, 2019, para. 1); young children are in the “active start” phase of fostering lifelong physical activity and need to build the fundamental movement skills to support their continued physical fitness (as per the Long Term Athlete Development Framework by Sport for Life Canada). These documents stand ready to answer the question of “why care about moving”. They each hold particular universalized, application-oriented, instrumental responses: care about movement because engaging in movement properly supports children’s normative development and healthy futures. More than the answers these documents offer, it matters that these documents are so quick to present an answer – that these documents and their creators assume that “why care about movement” is a question so easily answerable, so readily resolved into best practices and developmental trajectories.

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