Over the last term it’s been amazing to see each child get something different from the classes. The age range is very wide (and did you notice I’ve scrapped the different aged classes?) It’s been important to incorporate enough for each child and their stage of development.
So how do you spot phases of learning and how do you allow your little one to get the most from their play?
If you watch your little one at play do you notice they repeat movements over and over?
These repetitions are learning schemas. Ways for children to master skills and concepts; the building blocks for life.
Below are a few key schemas which are easy to spot, perhaps you can recognise a few from your own little one. There are many more schemas (between 9-12 depending on the source), with lots of overlapping.
Connecting/disconnecting: Stacking and dismantling structures, joining trains and taking toys apart.
Transporting: Collecting and putting things into boxes, bags or the like. Having full pockets or filling and emptying.
Boundaries: Poking holes in things, or putting fingers in holes. Exploring gates and doors.
Positioning: Lining up toys, sorting and building patterns. Arranging books on a shelf or even straightening chairs in a row.
Dynamic Horizontal: Moving cars and building roads, running laps, full body left to right/right to left movements, clapping or racing games.
Jean Piaget (1896–1980), a renowned developmental psychologist, noted that as a child gets older the learning schemas get more elaborate and often cross paths with more than one simultaneously. It might not be obvious what phase of learning they’re in.
Next time you’re watching your little one, take note of what and how they’re playing. Real engagement is what you’re looking out for. You’ll notice they have intent and purpose to their play. Do you see the same pattern of play happening with different toys? Engage with them, ask them questions about what specifically they’re enjoying.
In order to access higher level thinking when they’re older; including STEAM subjects, children must pass through these learning schema. Negotiating the world is tricky, so let them explore their way, mastering their own learning.
Above all, give them time and patience. These stages of learning are vital and can’t be rushed. Embrace the phase and give them opportunity to explore more along their current path.
NOTE: Our little Fern is fully into holes and putting blocks together. He’s not mastered building but loves to hold blocks together in his hands. And putting fingers in holes… belly buttons, plug sockets, squeezy yogurt tube holes, holes in toys, holes in chairs…. the list is huge!