SCHEMAS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD

I still remember many urges that I used to have as a kid. One particular urge that I still get from time to time is hiding in a big box, or a cupboard. I also see a lot of my kids in Pre-School, who have these urges, each one different from another. Hiding, organizing things, looking upside down to name a few!

These urges or desperation to do something out of the blue, are called Schemas.

Children choose to do things through play. Play life is their real life. So Parents and Educators need to realize how important this ‘Real-life’ is!

Play can be a big building block in a child’s life and if Play is delivered in a structured, well researched and more organised manner, it sure can be the biggest building block.

Knowing about these play-urges can help us to understand why our children are so determined to do certain things that we might not understand. If we have no idea about the way in which a child exhibits signs of brain development, then we might actually think that the child is being ‘difficult’ or even try to stop the developmental urges themselves.

Know these Schemas to recognize and support the urges during play for proper growth and development.

POSITIONING

Have you noticed your child arranging and positioning things in lines and order?

Lining up cars, Stacking up books ?

Positioning is an important urge that in fact, remains with us even after we grow into adults.

CONNECTION

Joining dots on a paper, clicking together pieces of lego, running a string from one thing to another… the urge of Connection.


This can mean connecting and disconnecting too, building followed by destruction, and that can mean other peoples buildings and sandcastles get destructed when the urge gets hold.

TRAJECTORY

The urge to throw, drop and other actions that are all part of the Trajectory schema.  

Some other Trajectory actions are things like climbing up and jumping off (Trajectory of ones own body), putting your hand under running water (interacting with things that are already moving) and the classic, throwing and dropping (making it happen).  It can be diagonal, vertical or horizontal… this is a multi-dimensional urge, after all learning is based on movement in the first years of life.

ENCLOSURE/CONTAINER

The urge to fill up cups with water, climb into cardboard boxes or kitchen draws, build fences for the animals or to put all the animals inside the circular train track, it is the Enclosure/Container schema.

The urge to fill up cups with water, climb into cardboard boxes or kitchen draws, build fences for the animals or to put all the animals inside the circular train track, it is the Enclosure/Container schema.

TRANSPORTING

Transporting can be the urge to carry many things on your hands at one time, in jars, in buckets and baskets, or even better containers with wheels.

Transporting can be the urge to carry many things on your hands at one time, in jars, in buckets and baskets, or even better containers with wheels.

TRANSFORMATION

The urge to Transform 

The urge to Transform can come in many forms; holding all your food in your mouth for a long time to see what it turns into, mixing your juice with your fish pie, water with dirt, or helping Granny with mixing the bread dough.
Its only natural that once you have explored and learnt about a raw material you should want to do further testing… there is a scientist and a chef in everyone.

ROTATION

Anything that goes around anything that is circular – wheels, turning lids, watching the washing machine on spin cycle.

Anything that goes around anything that is circular – wheels, turning lids, watching the washing machine on spin cycle, drawing circles, spinning around on the spot, being swung around. These are all experiences of the Rotation schema.

ENVELOPING

To have a sheet over your head, wrapping things in fabrics or with tape and paper – all actions seen in the Enveloping schema.

To have a sheet over your head, wrapping things in fabrics or with tape and paper – all actions seen in the Enveloping schema.

An extension of this is peek-a-boo, now you see it now you don’t, a concept that just keeps on amusing.

ORIENTATION

The urge to hang upside down, get the view from under the table and other actions that are part of the Orientation schema.

The urge to hang upside down, get the view from under the table and other actions that are part of the Orientation schema.
In order to ‘know’ what it is like to hang upside down or see things from a different point of view you must take yourself into those positions.  Although you and I might not hang upside down very often these days, we still ‘know’ what it feels like to hang upside down – because we have the experience – we learned what it was to hang upside down when we too had our Orientation 

HOW CAN YOU USE THESE URGES POSITIVELY?

As parents and educators it is a valuable thing to know about Schemas. Once you learn to identify the urge it becomes a lot more easier and a lot more fun to direct them into positive outcomes.

Hope you enjoy exploring your child’s urges and modifying them for their betterment!

One of the biggest luxury you can provide to your child is Play!

ISMAT SAMEER ISMAIL

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