Thursday, 17 March 2011

Schemas - Patterns of Learning

Last year one of the little ones that I child mind showed a strong interest in things that rolled, span and turned and when I looked into it further I discovered schemas.

Pen Green describe schemas as:  „patterns of play‟ that children exhibit when they are exploring the world and trying to find out how things work.

Reading further helped me to provide suitable activities and resources to facilitate her exploration and stretch her thinking. Since then she has become a very focused little girl with a long concentration span for anything she chooses to do. Recently she has lost this concentration and been 'flitting' from one thing to the next.

This week I sat and observed her play and took photographs for about two hours. As I watched her and thought about her play it suddenly clicked that she was exhibiting another schema...... envelopment this time. Indicators of an envelopment schema she showed were:
  •  She drew in circular movements, encircling everything everything else she drew, or drew a detailed picture then scribbled over it thickly.
  • She folded all her pictures up into small parcels after she'd drawn on them.
  • She laid a doll down and covered it in every blanket that she could find.
  • She carried a bag round with all manner of items squirrelled away inside.
  • She built a castle from duplo and told me about what was inside.
So although she was moving fairly quickly from one play resource to the next, she was exploring the same idea through all of them.
This document from Pen Green explains the basic schemas well.

Specifically for this little girl I have planned to extend her exploration of envelopment by:
  • Making dens with cloths.
  • Providing fabrics to wrap herself in.
  • Putting out small objects with the play dough to fold into it and envelop.
  • Show her how to secure her paper parcels with sellotape.
  • Provide stiff paper to paint on (as envelopment schema children often cover the paper thickly with paint all over)
  • Pasta in the sensory table with boxes to put it into, and cloths to wrap it in.
  • Hollow wooden blocks to build enclosures big enough to sit/lie in.
  • Show her how to put roofs on the buildings she makes.
  • put envelopes out with the mark-making materials.
I will probably add more to this as I go..... and I will put together my observations and ideas and explain it to her Mum so that Mum can understand and support her play also.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting Jen, I have recently attended a workshop on schemas provided by our local early years team which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have yet to identify any schemas in my current mindees but have been looking out for them!