Let's talk... Schema's

What is a Schema?


Put simply, the word ‘schema’ refers to a natural urge towards a pattern of repeated behaviour that a baby or young child displays as part of their learning journey.


For example, your child might like to climb, move objects from one place to another or show an interest in filling containers over and over again. All of these repeated behaviours are classed as schema’s and they are one of the ways in which your child is learning about the world.


The term ‘Schema’ was coined by the psychologist Jean Piaget in 1926. Piaget theorised that children need to construct and reconstruct their experiences through play and action so that they can develop and ‘cement’ their learning.


Commonly identified schema’s


There are many different schema’s that your child may display. The most common of these are described below.




You may observe one schema or you may see a group of schema’s at a time. Some schema’s may last for a short period of time, others may last much longer. Some children may have a tendency towards one schema over numerous different objects or activities and some children may display lots of schemas with just one thing. You may not observe any schemas.


The most important thing to remember is that each child is an individual and will learn at their own pace.


Why it is helpful for parents to have an understanding of Schema’s.


Being aware of schema’s may help you to support your child’s learning at home. Understanding that your child’s repeated behaviour is not deliberately destructive (for example a baby throwing objects off a high chair) may have a positive impact on your relationship.


Why is Schematic play important?


By repeating an action over and over again, your child is building up connections in their brain.


Babies and young children use schematic play to help them acquire new knowledge; their brains make thousands of links between cells as they encounter new experiences and explore the world around them.

Initially, these links are weak but they soon become stronger with lots of practice and repetition. By returning to and repeating the same action or activity at different times and in different places, these links become fixed and permanent.


How will nursery help to maximise the benefits of schematic play?


As a nursery, we are constantly looking for ways to encourage your child’s learning and development. If we observe that your child learns in a particular way, we will offer opportunities to extend that learning. Some examples of this might be:



How can parents get involved?


In order to strengthen schematic learning at home, there are plenty of activities that you could do with your child which support more than one schema



Source: Nursery resources








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