Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky

Second Reader

Professor Elisabeth Amirahmadi


play, movement, integrated movement, developmentally appropriate practice, didactic teaching



This study investigated how play and movement affect young children’s learning in order to provide educators with teaching strategies that are effective and developmentally appropriate in supporting the whole child. Academics, standardized testing, and school readiness have been buzzwords in education since No Child Left Behind was enacted in 2001. The term “school readiness” has been interpreted to indicate worksheets, memorization, and direct instruction to increase academic scores on standardized tests (Klein, 2015). The Common Core Standards for reading have dramatically increased in recent decades, including the expectation that children leaving kindergarten be comprehensive emergent readers (Carlsson-Paige, Bywater-McLaughlin, & Almon, 2015). Over 71% of teachers feel there is too much testing and that this testing is not developmentally appropriate (Schroeder, 2007). The elevated pressure from the finality of high- stakes standardized testing and increasingly arduous state standards has equated to an increase in direct instruction of skills and a dramatic decrease in active play. Research found that play and movement have many direct and indirect benefits on learning and overall development. This paper examined 15 studies that focused on how play and movement affect learning and offered suggestions for what the education of young children should encompass in the future.

Keywords: play, movement, integrated movement, developmentally appropriate practice, didactic teaching