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Stories and Schemas | part I

The first in a series of posts about children's schemas, and a selection of stories that will accompany their schema and their interests.  Do your children find the cardboard box more interesting than the toy inside?  Want to know why?




But first - an introduction - what are schemas and how are they useful to us as educators or parents?

Schemas are patterns of repeatable actions or behaviours that children show in their play, for example, always putting the duplo bricks in a neat line, or always filling the shopping bag with all the duplo bricks, or putting all the duplo bricks in a shopping trolley and pushing them around.  We might think - WHY??? - build me a nice tower with the bricks...  But this is the child's way of learning, exploring and finding out about the world.  WE as adults need to look at things differently, not "What is it for?" but "What could it be?"  The duplo bricks aren't always going to be used to build something, although that would be nice, they will be TRANSPORTED, CONTAINED, used to make an ENCLOSURE, used to observe a TRAJECTORY (thrown across the room!) or POSITIONED in a nice line.

These words are some of the words associated with schemas - you might notice these in the children you care for -


  • orientation - being upside down or on top
  • positioning - arranging items in lines or patterns
  • connection - joining train tracks together or joining paper with sellotape
  • trajectory - kicking a ball, throwing a ball
  • enclosure / containing - filling containers, building enclosures or enclosing drawings with a line
  • transporting - filling baskets or trolleys or buggies and pushing them round
  • enveloping - dressing up, wrapping parcels
  • rotation - wheeled toys, drawing round and round
  • transformation - cooking, playing with dough, mixing paint


If you want to know more, here's a link to a brilliant blog post all about types of schemas.

And a book all about schemas in young children and how we can provide for them in our settings - Understanding schemas in young children by Stella Louis et al.

NEXT TIME - rotation schemas and stories














For more story ideas and inspiration:














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