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What is a 'schema' and why are they important?

What is a schema?

It’s a repeated pattern of behaviour that helps your child to make links in their brain, shaping how they make sense of the world. It supports them to explore and develop their ideas through play and exploration. Each child is different and some may display more schemas than others. It’s important to provide open-ended opportunities for schematic play as it helps children build up skills for later in life.


The 9 types of schemas:


Trajectory

It’s all about how they, or things, move. Think throwing food off the side of a high chair. For older children this is jumping in puddles or playing with running water.

Rotation

How things turn or spin. Riding around on bikes, spinning ribbons, etc.


Enclosing

Joining lines or structures to form an enclosure. Making fences for toys, arranging food around the outside of a plate.

Enveloping

This one is to do with concealing. Building dens, covering themselves, filling bags.


Transporting

Filling pockets or containers with objects. They then place them around the environment.

Connecting

Joining things up, tying them together.


Positioning

Lining things up, putting them one on top of each other, grouping things together.

Orientation

Looking from different viewpoints. Standing on a ledge, looking between legs.


Transforming

This one is all about how things change.


Keen to help them with schemas? Download our Toddler Play eBook for ideas and tips for each one.


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