module specification

SE5057 - Reconsidering Children's Physical Play, Development and Learning (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Reconsidering Children's Physical Play, Development and Learning
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
75 hours Guided independent study
30 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   A report on a piece of action research
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module explores a range of theories of babies’ and young children’s physical development, movement and health  and asks students to reconsider professional approaches to physical play and the physical care of babies and young children. Approaches to curriculum implementation that support the physical devleopment, play and learning of babies and young childrenwill be analysed.

Prior learning requirements

It is expected that students will be in a work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range for a minimum of 2 hours each week throughout the module, normally in a group setting.

Module aims

This core module addresses a key aspect of professional knowledge in the early years field and aims to enable students to:

  • Study a range of theories of babies’ and young children’s physical growth and development
  • Understand the integrated and interactive nature of physical development with all other aspects of development and learning
  • Develop an understanding of the ways that babies and young children’s bodies and physicality are shaped through relationships and cultural practices.
  • Understand the practitioner’s role and develop skills in planning and developing environments and opportunities that support babies’ and young children’s physical play and learning, including those with additional movement needs.


This module will exploretheoretical perspectives on babies’ and young children’s physical play, development and learning. Students will considerideas of children’s physicality in a historical and socio-cultural context and the implications of these ideas for pedagogical approaches and curriculum implementation. There will be a particular focus onthe place ofphysical care routines and movement play in the early childhood curriculum and students will critically evaluate the social value ascribed to these aspects of practice. The role of the adult and the importance of a range of indoor, outdoor and community environments in supporting babies’ and young children’s physical play will also be discussed.

Learning and teaching

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Distance Learning students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them either face-to-face, by e-mail or by telephone. All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of WebLearn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self assessment exercises such as quizzes and reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.  For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the workplace and weekly tasks and reflective exercises support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. 

The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports individual learning.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

  1. Describe, analyse and constructively critique theories of babies and young children’s physcial development and learning.
  2. Discuss the relationship between physical development and other aspects of development and learning.
  3. Articulate the significance of relationships and cultural context on  the development of babies’ and young children’s physicality.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to plan and develop environments and opportunities that support babies’ and young children’s physicality and physical development, including those with additional movement needs.

Assessment strategy

Students from both taught and distance learning modes are required to make a range of observations of children’s physical development and play and how these are supported within the setting. Students will receive written tutor formative feedback on one observation.All students will have the opportunity for self assessment and ongoing reflection on their learning through on-line quizzes and short answer questions.

Students will be able to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes through a reportbased on a project in which students develop an area of their practice in relation to theories and research on physical play development and learning.

All students for both taught and distance learning modes will be invited to attend a face to face tutorial to discuss their summative assessment in advance of submission deadlines and to receive detailed formative feedback.  Where a personal meeting is not possible, (for example, students living abroad and studying in distance learning mode) this will take place by telephone or e-mail.  Students will receive detailed formative written feedback following these tutorials.

All students will receive written feedback against all learning outcomes following the publication of marks. This will be the most comprehensive in cases of failure, where this will support learning for reassessment.


Athey, C. (2007) Extending Thought in Young Children.  London: Paul Chapman
Bresler, L (2004) Knowing Bodies, Moving Minds: Towards Embodied Teaching and Learning. London:Springer
Cooper, L and Doherty, J (2012)Physical Development. London: Continuum Publishing
Greenland, P. (2000) Hopping Home Backwards. Body Intelligence and Movement Play. Leeds. Jabadao.
Greenman, J and Stonehouse, A. (1996) Prime Times. A Handbook for Excellence in Infant Toddler Programs. St. Paul, USA: Redleaf Press.
David, T, Goouch, K, Powell,S and Abbott, L. (2003) Birth To Three Matters: A Review of the Literature. DfES
Davies, M (2003) Movement and Dance in Early Childhood. London: Paul Chapman
Malina, R. M,  Bouchard, C and  Bar-Or, O (2004) (2nd edition) Growth, Maturation, and Physical Activity. Illinois USA: Human Kinetics.
Malloch, S. and Trevarthen, C. (2009) Communicative Musicality. Exploring the basis of human companionship. Oxford. Oxford University Press.
Maude, P (2001) Physical children, active teaching: Investigating physical literacy. Maidenhead: Open University Press
Sherborne, V. (2001) Developmental Movement for Children.London. Worth Publishing.
Tobin J (ed) 1997) Making a Place for Pleasure in Early Childhood Education. USA: Yale University Press
WoodfieldL (2004) Physical Development in the Early Years. London: Continuum Publishing
White, K.(ed)(2004) Touch, Attachment and the Body. London. Karnac.

Jabadao(2009) Developmental Movement Play Final Report and Recommendations from a 10-year action research project investigating the way the early years sector supports the youngest children to be fully physical.Jabadao. Leeds.
Sugden, D. and Chambers, M. (2002) The identification and assessment of young children with movement difficulties.International Journal of Early YearsEducation, 10, pp 545-561. Carfax Publishing.
Bower, JK, Hales, DP, Tate, DF and Rubin, DA (2008) The Childcare Environment and Children’s Physical Activity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Volume 34, Issue 1 , Pages 23-29, January 2008

Web sites:  Developmental Movement Play