The After-School Programme: An Arena for Interaction with Others through Body Movements in Play


  • Knut Londal



This article investigates how the body movements in children's play are related to their interaction with others. Qualitative material was gathered from close observation and qualitative research interviews among eight- and nine-year-old children in an after-school programme (ASP) in Norway. The theoretical perspective is phenomenological. The study shows that body movements in the children's self-chosen and child-managed play outdoors are extensive and arise from play situations where children spontaneously seek interaction with others. Such bodily interaction occurs largely in small groups of best friends or in larger groups that come together as the participants undertake the same activity. The children's body movements play a significant role in their interaction with others and can be interpreted as a fulfilment of their seeking such interaction. Based on the findings, it is recommended that self-chosen and child-managed play outdoors be encouraged in the ASP. While extensive body movements arise out of interaction in play, the play may also contribute to the children's health and development. The ASP can fill a complementary function to institutions with structured and adult-controlled activities.