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Understanding Schemas



Schemas are the starting point for children's learning and are usually described as generalised patterns of behaviour, the repeated behaviours we observe as we watch children play and investigate their surroundings and world around them.

Research suggests that these actions are pieces of a jigsaw which children are building up in their brain- repeating patterns of behaviour in a schematic way, exploring actions and thinking about those actions.

Children have the opportunity to develop their ideas, learning through their schematic play and link experiences together to create concepts, problem solving and thinking strategies.



Moving in or creating lines of space. This demonstrated by throwing objects, kicking, climbing, pouring and experimenting with motion of speed.


Circular and Rotational

Usually demonstrated at a young age. They enjoy turning keys, knobs, wheels and taps, make marks in a circular motion and using their whole body to explore circular motions.

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Enveloping and Enclosure

Many children enjoy the enclosure of their activities and are particularly interested in wrapping themselves up, covering and hiding items. They make enclosures with bricks, blocks etc. along with fitting themselves into small spaces. They'll enjoy making dens and dressing up.


Going through

Going through a boundary making themselves or objects go through something and out at the other side, such as tunnels, garlic press post boxes etc.

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Interested in the properties of materials where the process is more important than the product. they are fascinated by how materials change their state and enjoy mixing and exploring with rice, corn flour, cooking etc.


Children have a fascination in how things move, carrying objects from one place to another using prams, trucks, bags and purses etc.



Putting things inside containers, boxes, spaces including themselves.

Children are often experimenting with size, capacity and quantity.



This involves investigating how materials can be linked and their relationship to one another such as cars to roads, trains to train track, connecting pipes and guttering. Children may begin by exploring disconnecting objects before learning to connect them together.



Often demonstrated by young children, they enjoy emptying containers, draws and baskets, sprinkling small materials such as rice, glitter and sequins.