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Play schemas: does my child have a trajectory schema?

Children with a trajectory schema enjoy movement. They like to move themselves and to be moved. They're drawn to watching movement and making movement happen.  I recently watched my two grandsons at play. Hamish, 2 years 4 month, was pushing a train around a track. Vincent, 6 months younger, was immediately attracted but appeared to disrupt the activity, repeatedly throwing the trains and pushing them away in random directions out of Hamish's reach, and laughing. Vincent has a trajectory schema. Hamish, who likes an enclosed track made an attempt to join Vincent's play. Throwing a train across the room, at which Vincent laughed his approval, but Hamish then returned to his play - throwing doesn't particularly interest him.  This illustrates...

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Play schemas: Enclosers/containers

Children with this schema will make elaborate farms with animals in fields, gather objects into boxes and other containers and put outlines and borders round their drawings. The railways track will be constructed as a loop, never just a straight line and the duple bricks will be arranged as a wall around the edge of the board. Children with this dominant schema may enjoy emptying spaces/containers as much as creating and filling them.  Play ideas:  A good selection of farm animals with plenty of fences and gates.  Railway and road tracks that can be made as loop, with vehicles of course.  Construction toys like lego/duplo, stickle bricks and wooden blocks for making enclosures.  At bath time or in a water...

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Play schemas: Is my child a transporter?

I'll start with my favourite play schema - transporting. In a busy nursery setting this was the one I dreaded. Transporters like to gather up objects and take them elsewhere, so when a piece of jigsaw is suddenly missing, or another child's shoe (just one!), the transporter may need to be questioned, not that they'll remember because they will have been busy transporting things all morning, quietly creating mayhem.  Sometimes they have impressive abilities to hold several unrelated objects in their hands. Their pockets bulge with their stash of bits and bobs. Often the object is of little importance although later on it can have symbolic meaning e.g. a wooden brick may be a loaf of bread (preferably in a...

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What is a play schema? Does my child have one?

A schema is a pattern of play in young children which can be observed as they explore their world and make sense of it. Some children have several schemas while others have a very dominant preferred one. If your pre school child regularly does something distinctive in their play, the chances are you can think of it as an uncontrollable play urge, also known as a dominant schema.  When you understand how these are manifested in their play, its fascinating to see how your child is learning about their world and processing it.  Here as some of the most commonly seen schemas:  Trajectory  Rotation  Enclosing Enveloping Transporting Positioning Connecting Positioning  Orientation  Transformation  I'll discuss each of these in a separate...

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