More on Fundamentals of Playness Pedagogy

19 October, 2015

Let’s go on with the Playness fundamentals. The season has started in local kindergarten this week. We deliver Playness curriculum for the second year now. Yes, we are playing games with children, but we are doing it very seriously keeping our expert standards high in perspective. The professional duty and responsibility to provide our customers with a child-centered curriculum is calling us to constantly assess the quality of our work. For this purpose a few more fundamentals of Playness pedagogy are provided here:

playness room

No competition

Is competitiveness really necessary at the early stage of life? Have you ever experienced that in a playful, emotionally safe settings you can easily manage with some tasks, while when being observed by an authority or when in competition, you fail in performing well? Well, that is the negative consequence and a limitation of a competitive mindset. The neuro-science has proven time and again that the best learning environment is emotionally safe one. Our brain is willing to open synapses to explore the best options, learn and then make the memory imprint if we provide safe and challenging circumstances, that will arouse the learning capabilities. Such environment – stay and play mode of being – produces positive hormonal response, which an organism is likely to seek more often.

Somatic wisdom

We are embodied beings. We are living in duality! We have a body and we are our bodies at the same time. So what does it mean to be a body? Have you thought about hundreds of events going on in your body while you are reading this? Do you think about your leg’s muscle tension and relaxation while you walk and talk? No you don’t. That is solely because we have subconscious mind taking care of it. And our mind is not located in our brains, but it grows out of our whole body perceptions. Our bodies are biologically designed by the laws of nature; in this sense we are like animals. So, by being attuned to our bodies, by listening to the feelings, and giving importance to all the senses, we can gain what is inherently present in the body all the time. It is the wisdom of mother nature.

Movement stories

»Lift up your pelvis and than move to your left with hands behind your back and legs shoulder wide apart both feet firmly on ground.« Tell this in your kindergarten and the children will think the teacher went nuts. Speak the language of children and not of kinesiology, sport science or whatever your background. Associative thinking is one of the highest forms of intelligence, and young children are already competent in this. Fairytales are all about metaphoric and associative thinking. »While sitting in the woods, put your little teddybear on your belly and lift him up, so he is able to see above the trees. Now go and search for the honey, he is really hungry. And if you put your butt on the ground, the bees will hear it coming, so don’t do it.« Try this and you will see the difference. That is why we use movement stories in Playness pedagogy.

Holistic approach

A story or a joke makes sense only if it is told from the begining to the end. Even if it is a short one, it must be whole. The same is with movement tasks. We do not tear off some parts of the complex movements in order to make it more simple. They may look simpler but they often makes no sense to the mover – remember the somatic wisdom. Therefore one must design smaller movement stories that function as a whole again. We divide the whole story into smaller movement chapters, which the children are able to work through. There is of course another understanding of holistic approach where the child is regarded as bio-psycho-social being. However, we will explore all these dimensions at another opportunity.


We are on the challenging mission to meet the needs of the children. It shouldn’t be too hard once we capture their mind-set. But it’s definitely not easy as well, since the responsibility to lead the generation of future leaders is enormous. Luckily, they are still in kindergarten, and beng playful is their prime interest. 😉

By Milan Hosta, PhD

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