MOVE Programme

Although the Early Years sector is not compulsory, we are seeing the number of children attending Early Years settings grow at a rapid pace. Initiatives such as funded sessions are encouraging more families to take up the opportunity of early education, allowing further accessibility to education, improved transitional period to school and stronger peer learning opportunities. However, the question remains, are we making early years and mainstream education accessible for all children, specifically those with additional physical needs?

Findings from Ofsted in their recent ‘Supporting SEND’ (April 2021) profile would suggest not, with gaps in training, multiagency collaboration being limited, and the absence of accountability acting as barriers. Although this study was small, it has significant implications for mainstream education and early years. Furthermore, The Duchess of Cambridge has recently called for early education to be recognised, knowing that ‘Big changes start Small’ and the positive implications early education has on the child, family, society and our economy.

If early years is an essential start to every child’s learning journey, we need to make sure settings are equipped to provide adequate support for every child. We already know that the MOVE Programme has significant positive outcomes for children with physical needs in special schools, and now we want to reach those children who attend Early Years and mainstream settings. To do this, we have created Mini MOVE!

What is Mini MOVE?

Mini MOVE is an adapted version of the MOVE Programme designed to provide mainstream early years settings with a framework to develop the functional movement skills of children with physical needs. Just like the MOVE Programme, Mini MOVE enables disabled children to access the world as independently as possible and upskills the whole team around the child to facilitate mobility progress.

Mini MOVE is centred on 3 effective principles:

  • Opportunities: children learn and develop through being given opportunities to do so. Mini MOVE supports settings to find every opportunity throughout the day to incorporate movement opportunities for their children with additional physical needs.
  • Motivation: children are more likely to engage in activities that are meaningful to them. Mini MOVE provides a framework to identify and work towards motivating goals that will make the biggest different to the child and their family.
  • Progress: children make the most progress when someone believes in their abilities. Mini MOVE is a ‘can do’ approach that sets the bar high for disabled children, encouraging them to work towards their goals and celebrating every step of progress in their journey.

These principles create an inclusive environment where children with physical disabilities are supported to reach their full potential, which leads to not only successful school transitions but also a wider horizon of opportunity in later life.

Why is Mini MOVE needed?

Many mainstream early years settings are not equipped to effectively cater for children with physical disability needs due to limitations around the amount and quality of training that is available to them. Staff working in these settings are therefore less confident in supporting disabled children in their care. Mini MOVE addresses this gap by upskilling staff to take a proactive role in physical development.

A major benefit of Mini MOVE is the programme’s promotion of multi-agency working between education, therapy and family. The whole team around the child is involved in working on mobility goals that are functional for the child and their family. This ensures that everyone, from SENCOs to nursery assistants to physiotherapists, is on the same page about a child’s physical development journey and has the skills to provide regular movement opportunities.

Mini MOVE also allows settings to effectively meet the Early Years sector expectations (such as Ofsted), adapt to the challenges found in the recent ‘Supporting SEND’ Report, and create robust evidence for Educational Health Care Plans whilst supporting the Code of Practice. By using Mini MOVE, mainstream early years settings can effectively and proactively meet the needs of all children in their care, creating an inclusive learning environment and facilitating greater access to learning opportunities whilst maintaining an ethos which encourages a sense of belonging for children who currently may not receive the same opportunities as their peers.

The aim of Mini MOVE is to ensure that children with physical needs in mainstream early years settings receive high quality support to develop their functional movement skills and improve their physical outcomes as early as possible. A child can benefit immensely from early support and intervention, creating further physical development which in turn supports their confidence, skill set and ability to develop a healthy mind set and outlook on their future. The positive impact of starting early will result in a bright future for our next generation of children with additional physical needs.

To hear a member of our team talk all things Mini MOVE and get a chance to ask your questions, join our next webinar.

How can I start using Mini MOVE?

We are currently piloting the Mini MOVE in South Wales as part of the Bevan Exemplar Programme. If you want to be one of the first settings to start the programme when it is formally rolled out across the UK, click below