Schemas How children learn through play
What is a Schema? • A schema is a repeatable pattern of organisational behaviour which the child generalises in order to make sense of the world, e.g. “the trajectory”.By exploring different schema’s, children become more knowledgeable about the world around them. Some children might display only one schema whereas others might display several and some might not display any at all. • Schema’s are biological – we are all born with the ability and desire to use and construct them in different ways and they are central to young children’s learning and development.
The development of schemas • Jean Piaget (1896-1980) • Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) • Chris Athey (working in 1972) • Tina Bruce (1970’s) • Cathy Nutbrown (1999) • Maria Montessori • Frederick Froebel • Rudolph Steiner • Margaret Macmillan • Susan Isaacs
The most commonly observed schema’s; • Trajectory (dropping objects from a height) • Rotation • Enclosing • Enveloping (covering the dolls with blankets) • Transporting (transporting water from one area to another) • Connecting ( connecting the chair straps together) • Positioning • Orientation
Trajectory SchemaAn interest in how different objects and people move, and the ways in which children can affect that movement. This schema can be observed in children’s actions when they drop objects, jump, swing and climb up and down repeatedly. • All about straight lines which can be up, down or across. • This is a very common schema, especially in very young children (dropping things from highchairs) • If you think that a child has a trajectory schema you might observe them running around, throwing things, enjoying playing with running water or spending a lot of time building things in a straight line or pushing different objects such as trolleys and push chairs.
TransportingChildren will be interested in moving themselves around and in transporting different objects. This might include moving objects and themselves using bags, bikes, trucks, wheelbarrows etc. • Carrying many things in your hands, in a bucket or a basket. • Transporting objects in a wheelbarrow. • You can help to extend a child’s learning when exploring the transporting schema by providing them with the correct resources to do so. These could include different buckets and pots for moving sand and water from one area to another.
PositioningAn interest in placing themselves or objects in patterns or rows. Children might be observed lining up toys, books or other objects. The positioning schema can be difficult to cope with at home when a child is constantly trying to rearrange objects on shelves. It is therefore important that parents and practitioners find alternative ways for the child to explore this schema as they will pursue their schema whether it is approved by others or not. • Older children might spend a lot of time lining up toys such as animals in order of size, colour and shape. • Some children might enjoy tidying up and organising the toys or books in a specific way. • Activities to support this schema include; lining up toys and different objects, balancing objects and hide and seek games.
ConnectionAn interest in fastening and joining things together and in taking them apart. You might observe a child joining up train tracks or fastening the straps on a chair. Activities to support this schema include; junk modelling with tape, glue etc, using pipes, funnels and buckets to make connections, building train tracks and dressing up clothes with different fastenings. Key words to support this schema include; build, construct, join, together, apart, stretchy, strong, thread and flexible. • This schema might be observed when a baby or child has an interest in tidying up objects, joining toys together, fastening and joining things together using paper, tape or string. • It is only when a child has mastered the idea of connecting that they will move onto separating or disconnecting things.
EnvelopingAn interest in covering and wrapping objects or themselves or in putting objects inside bags, baskets and containers. Some children might enjoy dressing up with different items of clothing such as hats, scarves and coats. Ways in which you can further develop this schema; Provide dressing up clothes. Provide various bags of different sizes, baskets and purses. Different art medium in particular paint. Blankets. Key words to support this schema include; under, over, hidden, wrap, unwrap, full and empty. • You might observe children putting things into bags or purses, wrapping themselves up in blankets, like being cuddled or covering over their paintings with a single colour e.g. Black. • Children who display this schema also enjoy hiding objects and themselves.
RotationAn interest in things which turn, such as knobs, taps, keys and wind up toys. This schema can be seen in children’s actions when they run or ride bikes round in circles or spin round and round. • This schema is most frequently observed in babies and young children. • Babies who are learning how to move themselves might be observed using their bottom , legs and feet to rotate themselves around again and again. • Activities to support this schema include; mixing and stirring, locks and keys, painting and drawing in circles and filling baskets with various circular objects. • Key words to support this schema include; spin, twirl, round, circle, dizzy and twist.
OrientationAn interest in seeing things from different angles. Some children might enjoy hanging upside down from the climbing frame or may turn toys and other objects upside down as they look at them. • This schema takes place as babies and young children begin to move around. • Children might enjoy building ramps or towers where they can climb up and see their environment from a higher viewpoint. • Activities to support this schema include posting boxes, mirrors and binoculars and different actions such as spinning, rolling and twisting. • Key words to support this schema include; turn, twist, roll, backwards and forwards.
Transformation The urge to Transform can come in many forms; holding all your food in your mouth for a long time to see what it turns into, mixing your juice with your fish pie, water with dirt, or helping Granny with mixing the bread dough.Its only natural that once you have explored and learnt about a raw material you should want to do further testing... there is a scientist and a chef in everyone.