Paper Title
Movement education - viable alternative to Elementary physical education

The ultimate aim of education is the fullest development of individual’s potentialities. The various areas of development have traditionally been classified under four major heads, namely, physical, mental, emotional and social development. Following the industrial revolution, education was largely restricted to the development of mental faculties and physical skills necessary to use machines and tools. What little need was felt for physical development was considered fulfilled through children’s informal play-activities followed by formalized physical training at school. However, as educational thought advanced and the totality of human beings was rediscovered, physical training was replaced by Physical Education which was interpreted as education through the physical and not merely education of the physical. Physical Education, thus became an integral part of the overall education process with potential contribution to the four areas of human development. Civilization has brought about the need for organized Physical Education programmes. As a result of labour-saving devices, sedentary pursuits and security, the need has arisen for some type of planned programmes whereby individuals may realize the benefits of physical activity that was once a part of our daily routine, as well as derive many sociological, psychological and intellectual benefits. In recent years the mental, emotional and social development has gained considerable importance especially because of the advent of humanistic philosophy, affective behavior, positive attitude, beliefs and values. Well -organized and implemented programmes of Physical Education bring about not only psychomotor development, but also development in the cognitive and affective domains. Such programmes include a variety of sports, games and other activities which are governed by a set of rules adopted universally and supervised by effective leadership. Although sports and games offer an opportunity for alround development of participants, their contributory potential is limited, especially for children. Those concerned with the Physical Education of children have been trying to find and devise suitable games and activities which provide adequate opportunities for their alround development. However, most of the minor games so developed are again controlled by sets of rules, though they are sometimes modified locally. Traditional Physical Education in elementary schools is under critical evaluation with regard to its contribution to alround development of children. Movement Education, which originated in England, has been acclaimed as a viable alternative for the education of children through free and expressive movement experiences. The Problem-solving and Guided discovery methods applied in Movement Education are conducive to the development of traits such as creativity, poise, body control and the like. The concept of Movement Education is of fairly recent origin in this context. It provides movement experiences to children to satisfy their biological urge for movement, provides opportunities for exploration and discovery to develop creativity and enable them understand movement as it relates to the body parts and surroundings. Conceptually, these programmes are oriented to a problem-solving approach permitting greater flexibility and freedom in movement experiences than more traditional sport-oriented activities. Thus, Movement Education can be the ideal substitute for traditional Physical Education. Movement Education is based on the inspired work of Rudolf V Laban and the development of his theories in British progressive schools after World War II. Laban stressed the fact that the body is an instrument through and by which people move, and that each individual is endowed with certain natural types of movement. He believed strongly in exploratory movement and in a spontaneous quality in movement. He was opposed to the rigidity of any set series of exercises that left no room for creativity or self expression. Movement education uses four components of movement developed buy Rudolf Laban: Body awareness, Space awareness, Qualities of movement and Relationship. Body awareness refers to what the body can do---the shapes it can make, the way it balances, and the transfer of weight from one part of body to another. Space awareness describes the spatial aspects of movement as well as skills related to moving in different directions and different levels. The component of Qualities describes how the body can move, and includes skills related to speed, force and flow of a movement. Relationship refers to the connection between the body and other performers, or the body and small and large apparatus. The essence of Movement Education is to make children aware of movement of their body and to involve it intellectually as well as physically. It seeks not only to have children understand and appreciate their own movement but also appreciate the varieties of movement of other children. A programme of Movement Education provides movement experiences with sufficient freedom of expression so that children develop movement concepts related to force, time, space and the like besides deriving benefits of health and fitness. Children are enabled to develop movement concepts through experiences provided by using the method of exploration characterized by guided-discovery and problem-solving. The need for adequate movement experiences during early child hood is emphasized by the fact that the younger the child the more susceptible it is to external influences. That the early period of life is called the formative years is no empty cliché. The nursery and infant stages are the most important and significant of a child’s school life. It is of vital importance that during these years is laid the foundation for full development of confidence and independence in movement. Movement has special relevance for children because it provides for self-realization and suites the receptive and creative nature of children.