Schema in young children’s play

What is a Schema?

You may have noticed your child has a tendency to carry all their toys from one place to another,  line up their cars, build enclosures with blocks or lego or have a fascination with things flying through the air.  These are all examples of schema.

A schema is described as a pattern of repeated behaviour which can sometimes seem antisocial but is actually a child’s way of trying to make sense of the world around them.  Through recognising, and understanding children’s schema we are able to provide activities that support children’s learning through these preoccupations . There are many different types of schema and supported early, may turn into later concepts.  For instance an early interest in trajectory may develop into an interest in timelines and history.  A connecting schema or grid schema may develop into a later interest in building structures, scaffolding or architecture.

Examples of different schema, how to spot them and what you can do at home to support your child’s interest can be found by clicking on the links below:

Transporting Schema PLOD

Trajectory Schema PLOD

Enveloping, Enclosing and Containing Schemas PLOD

Rotation Schema PLOD

Heaping and Scattering Schema PLOD

Positioning Schema PLOD

Further reading:

Nutbrown C. (1994) Threads of Thinking: Paul Chapman Publishing

Louis S, Beswick C, Magraw L, Hayes L (2008) Ed. Featherstone S.  Again, Again!: Understanding Schemas in young children: Featherstone Education Ltd.

Harper S. (2004) Schemas in Areas of Play: Playcentre Journal( Issue 121, p:18)

Whittaker W. (2007) Using Schemas to enhance learning: EYE (Vol 9 No.4)