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Do you mean the Schemas that Chris Athey has written a book about? On transporting, enclosing, trajectory etc. I think they are meant to be patterns of repeatable behaviour and explain why children do things like stuff ALL the dressing up clothes in the cooker in the home corner - they might be working through an 'enclosing schema' - very basic example!

 

 

When I worked in London I was in the Reception Class and in the nursery next door they were really into Chris Athey's schemas and that was how they did their planning. In fact, we all went on a one day Conference at the Camden's teacher centre to hear Chris Athey speak - this must of been about 1994? she was brilliant.

 

Now on our Observation sheet we make a note of the schemas at the bottom to see if we can see any evidence of that behaviour.

 

Hope I have spelt Chris Athey right!

 

attached is our obs sheet if this helps

 

PS if these are the schemas you are interested in there was a short article about it in the most recent teachers magazine from the NUT - I think!

Observation_Sheet.doc

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Guest alisonjayne

The Centre at Pen Green do their planning using individual childrens Schema's. Will try to find out more as I am not in Nursery at the moment

Ali

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Thank you everyone! I have the Athey book - it's very good - it's the practical side I'm working on. Currently trying to observe transporting, which has been sort-of lumped together with collecting. It's very interesting, though, and if you get it right it seems to strike a chord with parents straight away.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am sure that one of my key children 'has' a schema but I can't figure out what one or how I can use the knowledge to plan for him... help!

 

He came to us from another setting that found him disruptive, anti-social and unable to settle to any activity other than puzzles. There is more to why he moved but irrelevant here.

I did not tell my staff his background so they would form unbiased judgements and we all felt he didn't fit that description. My assessment would be...

 

He isn't 4 until December and can complete 50+ piece puzzles totally unaided. He questions what he is being asked to do - tidy up, come for stary, wash your hands but only needs telling once or twice before complying. He attempts to initiate play with other children and with adults and will play turntaking/board games to the end.

Then one day we had a puzzle out that was just pairs of pieces... he couldn't do it! The way to do puzzles is to sort out the edges in the lid and the middle in the box, do the edges then do the middle. If there is no edge what do you do???

 

This may have rung some warning bells I'll admit, but now I've noticed all his drawings are circles and he likes to colour in at home (always in the middle, rather than over the lines). When we do action songs, he doesn't join in yet (still quite new to us and apparently to the songs which he sings at home!) but he gets in the middle of the group and sucks his thumb. I'd have expected him to sit on the edge...

 

So I'm thinking some sort of enclosures schema what do you think?

And if it is, how do I help him? Poor mum is obviously worried as the area Senco also felt there may be a 'problem'. I have spoken to her and we felt we were talking about 2 different children!

She said he obsessively completed the puzzles not allowing any other children to help and getting distressed if another child wanted to break up one he had completed - not seen that at all, in fact he had 4 children helping him the other day!

 

Anyway I'm moving away from the original point as I have in the back of my mind that it will be so awful if he does have a 'need' adn we have dismissed it.

 

How can I use his apparent schema????

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Nursery World did a pull-out piece about schemas a while back - you could try looking on the web site? Or you could do a search on the web for 'schemas' - not much else to suggest right now as all my stuff's at work and I'm not in again until Monday.

 

Sorry I can't be more help, really feel for you,

 

Sue

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Sorry Tracey, I read this yesterday and I dont have any answers certainly not from the schema perspective anyway.

It certainly sounds as if you could be describing 2 different children and as the better child seems to be with you at the moment, perhaps you just need to keep an eye on things. Children do react differently to different settings! Presumably this child will be with you until at least September and you and mum have a good working relationship so hang in there.

Hope someone else will have some ideas.

Good luck.

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Sorry I've been away so only just spotted this.

 

From what we've done so far - one day's training! - I'd say you probably need more narrative observation on him. It's been suggested that schemas manifest in the physical, representational and language areas. It does souns like there's some interest in enclosure or insideness. Hard to say whether it's the edges that interest him, ot the concept of insideness. Does he fill things up in other contexts? Does he talk about edges, being inside, full up, or hidden? If any of this rings a bell then you can look at fitting your input to his interests - using the language of 'full' 'empty' 'all round the edge' etc. Stories, rhymes & songs can pick up a similar content.

 

I don't know if this helps. Tina Bruce's 'Early Childhood Education' has just been released in a 3rd edition & has a good section on schemas, with photos. There's quite a lot in the Nursery World Archives. However,everything I've read on it says strongly that schemas are only a tool we use & are not the complete picture. Schemas do not & should not explain bad or troubling behaviour. You'll know enough about him to know whether there is cause for concern. While it's hard to thwart a child with a schema, because they 'can't help' behaving schematically, overly obsessive behaviour is something else.

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Thank you. See this is my thought... he ISN'T overly obsessive. The behaviour observed at previous setting and on the Senco's visit was perceived as such but we have kind of tested him... saying he can't do puzzles or stopping him part way through one etc and although he has asked why he has accepted our decision each time.

I looked at NW but couldn't remember my log in!! Have it emailed now so will look today. web search was rubbish BUT from what you just said I wonder if I have understood it wrong. Perhaps just recognising it is enough as we will know why he does what he does. I thought it was a case of specific activities to use with specific schemas IYSWIM.

 

Excellent news anyway as I can at least say at the keymeeting that this is a possible explanation! Last time mum asked what I thought I said that so far we had no cause for concern but that he had only been with us a short while - so as not to burn my bridges!

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I found it really hard to find anything useful from an ordinary websearch, which was one reason I posted on here.

 

A couple of other possible sources of info: Cathy Nutbrown's book 'Threads of Thinking ' has quite a bit on curriculum, and the Pen Green Centre in Northants may sned you some info if you contact them.

 

We have Day 2 of our 4 tutorial days on Thursday, and I think it's about enclosure, so I might be of more help then! We've covered transporting so far.

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when you say 'covered' transportation.... is it simply recognising it in a child? This is what I'm stuck on as I keep reading that you can use schemas to plan for children but not HOW!!!

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I know what you mean - that's exactly why I'm doing the course!!

 

We had to look at how schemas [in this case, the transporting one] manifest in 3 areas - the physical or dynamic, language and the figurative. So in the case of the child under 3 that I studied, I first did observations, took photos etc to see if it was present in all 3 areas. Apparently unless it is you can't be sure it's a schema. Now my little one takes a wheelbarrow, fills it with leaves, transports them to the outdoor playhouse and dumps them all inside. That's the physical. Language was tricky, because his expressive language is delayed and he's from a bilingual home. He does talk about 'hoover' and 'choo choo' with enthusiasm. Figurative/graphic was also tricky because he doesn't often elect to draw or paint. He did, however, line up the chairs from the dolls' house & label it 'choo choo!' [Also I think transporting is one of the more difficult ones to spot graphically]

 

What we are now doing is constructing a list of resources that would support each of those 3 categories, e.g. marble painting might be one way to interest a child with this schema in the graphic; any story, song or rhyme about journeys should interest them, and you can work out the kind of words that will interest them too - language; physical is easier with this one - marble runs, vehicle play, tracks chalked outdoors so their vehicles can follow a route and so on. It should also be possible to tailor some activites to this little one's level, and slightly different ones for the 2 nearly four year olds who have this schema as part of their cluster.

 

I hope from this you can begin to see how you could use the same process to plan for other schemas. The child who likes to cover everything up, for instance,might like an activity where they search for buried treasure in the sand tray. Children with this schema are the ones who paint a beautiful picture, then cover it over completely.

 

It's very difficult to give you a full enough answer, but I hope I've given you some pointers. As I said, I might be a bit clearer after Thursday's installment!!

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Thank you so much! By the way Lincs isn't a million miles away so if you want to observe my wee boy feel free!

 

So physical - would that be the puzzles? Is that physical enough? He parks all the bikes before he goes home from lunch club... What doesn't fit the enclosure thing tho is that he kicks or hits with a golf club balls as far as possible - so not enclosed!

Graphics definitely as he always draws enclosed circles and mum says he colours in a lot at home.

Language - hmmm, he likes to reaffirm things. Eg we lost the Tuesday card one week and I quickly wrote one. It turned up and every week since he says 'you found Tuesday?' Or he questions where something is that was out the day before. Blimey will have to listen tomorrow for enclosure talk!!

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Pandamonium the kicking the ball etc sounds like trajectory - it's associated with drawing straight lines, writing capital letters, needing to be at the front of a queue, putting toy animals in a line and so on. There's also one about 'going through a boundary' I think. Some children - maybe even most - have a cluster of schemas.

 

Yes I guess puzzles is physical 'cos it's fine motor skills.

 

Wish I could pop across to see you - the way I'm feeling today I wish I could stay in bed!

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