This study asks, “how do we understand the body?” Grounded in early childhood education, I argue that dominant pedagogies create the moving body through logics of child development, healthism, and a moral imperative to set a foundational relation with movement and sport as positive habits of productive neoliberal citizens. Such pedagogies, I argue, figure the body through an instrumental relationship, where children come to know their bodies as entities to be managed, controlled, and deployed in the name of becoming the physically fit ideal body – a body crafted in dialogue with ongoing settler colonial conceptions of the “good” child and the “healthy” adult. These relations with the body are, I contend, limiting and often violent, as they take children’s relations with a complex materiality – their bodies – and reduce these relations to technocratic, regulatory practices. I propose that such relations do not engender an ethical relation with bodies that serves children well into their unknown futures. After a survey of relevant pedagogical documents, this paper turns toward practice-based research that investigates young children’s relations with fat, bodies, and movement. I show how children grapple with complex body logics. Relations of contagion, excess, sensation, and invention collide with inherited neoliberal discourses to produce children’s bodies as a constellation of complex logics. In everyday relations, sport and movement are wrestled away from regulatory practices and are made real as situated, responsive educational experiences.
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Studies, Toronto Metropolitan University, Ontario, Canada
Body Logics, Early Childhood Education, Pedagogy