A schema is a natural urge or noticeable pattern demonstrated in a child’s play, although a child will play with a wide variety of toys, they will follow a repeated pattern in their actions as they develop. Children can change their schemas over time, as their approach to activities may change throughout their development. However, if a child no longer follows a certain schema anymore, they will fall into another schema category.
‘Schema’ was a term introduced by psychologist Jean Piaget in 1926. He is said to have believed that children as active learners, need to construct and reconstruct their experiences through play and action.
Schemas may be strange and fascinating at times, but a child is actually building up their connections in their brains as part of their individual learning journeys. You might find some children like filling containers, moving objects from one place to another, climbing or putting objects in certain orders for example; these are schemas.
Schemas are used in our setting to ensure the practitioners are able to support a child’s learning and development to achieve the best outcomes. We use schemas when planning a child’s next steps in addition to their current interest, as this ensures activities are planned around a child’s individuality, meaning they are more specific to what each child likes and how they learn. This aids the children to be more successful in fulfilling the learning objective set out by the practitioners so they can progress to the next level.
Schematic play is important as children acquire new knowledge as they encounter new experiences. Being aware of schemas helps to support children’s learning foundations and helps to understand children’s behaviour.
Schema in the EYFS
Schemas and schematic play has a large role in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS curriculum used in settings with children under 5 years), as it offers play and exploration which is referred to in the EYFS.
To understand more on schemas here are a few sites to visit: