Young Children and Schemas

    28 November 2018

    Have you ever wondered how your child learns through play?

    And have you ever noticed that your child may love to fill bags, tins, pots or any other containers with things they found? Perhaps you have noticed that they love going ‘round and round’ on play equipment or running in circles? These are all examples of schemas (defined as a pattern of thought or behaviour that organises categories of information and the relationships among them) and demonstrate a particular type of learning style that your child likes.

    A paper shared by Cathy Nutbrown at The University of Sheffield explains the role of schemas in your children’s development.

    Researchers have identified several different types of schemas such as;

    1. vertical – going up and down, such as on an escalator or rolling a ball down a slope
    2. enclosure – putting things inside other things such as playing in tents, storing things inside a container/bag
    3. circular – going round and round, e.g. on a roundabout in a playground
    4. going over and under
    5. going through something
    6. connecting things together e.g. water equipment in a playground

    It is unclear if children work through all the schemas or just focus on one or two. By observing your child’s playing habits you will quickly be able to identify what areas you can focus on for future learning opportunities both at home, on trips and visits and in group settings.

    Next time you are out in one of our parks or visiting our weekly pre-school Tree Tots session why not observe what your child chooses to play with or do? It maybe that you start to notice one of the schemas listed above. Keep a look out for our activity fact sheet which we will be sharing on our blog over the next few days for National Tree Week – it’s a great way to go off exploring with your little one!

    This subject has also recent been covered on the CBeebies website and particularly Twirlywoos. Each episode of Twirlywoos focuses on a different schema.