Jump to content
Join Us
About Us



Recommended Posts

Does anybody know anything about schemas in early childhood. I am a student at Roehampton university and schemas have been mentioned a few times and I am having difficulty getting my head round the concept. If you have any ideas let me know! Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently read an excellent book by Cathy Nutbrown called 'Threads of Thinking'. It is all about schemas, how to identify them and how to extend children's learning through them. The book made me want to go and sit in a pre-school and watch, unfortunately it was holiday time. Your uni library should have a copy, better to read that and let me know what you think, I am about to read a more recent book on the subject by Tina Bruce but the Nutbrown book is addictive if you can get it.


Briefly schemas are biologically determined patterns of behaviour. For example, a child who plays in the sand burying a toy, moves to the water tray and sinks a rock, stops off at the play dough to cover a pencil with dough before poppin outside to climb through the tunnel may appear to be someone with a short attention span. Or he could be a child working through his enclosure schema. Depending on how you see his behaviour will determine how you scaffold his development.


I can get quite carried away on the subject, let me know if you want any more info.


regards, Sylvia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris Athey studied schemas and identified many repeatable and observable patterns of behaviour in young children. Her work was then followed by Cathy Nutbrown and schematic observations and planning are actively pursued at pen Green Childrens Centre in Corby, Northants. Children's schemas are used to identify interests that the children are actively pursuing until they make sense of a concept like rotation and many early years practitioners are using schemas to plan the learning environment....to extend children's interests within the framework of the Foundation Stage.

Schemas appear to be very apparent in young children's behaviour, and I feel convinced that we all experience and learn from a schematic continuum, continuing to develop, refine and build upon existing schema, or ways of behaving, whenever we meet a new challenge or problem to solve. In many ways, the connections we make between old, familiar information and new, possibly conflicting information are schematic connections.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Abby, thanks for this post. I am very interested in schemas too. I have only worked with nursery children for 2 and a half years and am keen to identify their learning styles. I will read the c. nutbrown book. It is fascinating to watch our younger 3s at play. destruct in order to construct seems to fit! This would fit with schemas too. What is your latest understanding of them?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest squidgy mummy

Schemas still kinda confuse me :o But I have just finished reading (ok skimming) 2 books by Cath Arnold " Gerogia's story" and " Obsevring Harry" where she follows these 2 children's development and mentions the schemas they go through and what they symbolise. both books are easy to read and have lots of other useful stuff in them.


Looking for the Nutbrown book myself at the mo. its on the reading list for my 2nd module..



Link to comment
Share on other sites


Have just been reading about schema in OU course reader "Working with children in the Early Years" as part of E123.

There are six identified.

TRAJECTORY interest in up and down and along and back.

ROTATION interest in things that rotate.

ENCLOSURE interest in boundaries.

ENVELOPING and CONTAINING covering and putting objects in containers.

CONNECTING interest in joining things together in various ways and forms.

TRANSPORTING interest in moving things about in different ways.


I see all of these when observing children but they do not appear to happen in any particular sequence or age. I do not provide materials for schema but the children find suitable resources within the nursery for themselves.

So in future I'll have to remember that they are not just throwing the toys around but are interested in Trajectory!!! (Have to redirect the children when it's the wooden fruit from our shop!!!!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)