Are we preventing our kids learning through play because we think they are being naughty or just annoying?
We know through lots of evidence and studies that play is very important for a child’s development. the thing is, the more we learn about play, and the different types of play, the more we can see as a parent, teacher childminder etc. we could be inadvertently stopping a child from fulfilling the true potential gained from their “games”. (I have games like this because we are talking about free play, so it’s not really games but whatever the child does from their own imagination). We could be stopping them from doing certain things because as adults we don’t understand and think they are either being naughty or putting themselves in harm’s way.
in today’s post, we are going to look at schemas. Schemas is just a word that means urges. Children get these urges during times of play, through the way they decide to do things or just out of the blue.
These urges are the brain telling the child to do something as it is always looking to learn and lay down new pathways for the body and mind to do tasks or for the brain to make sense of what is going on with their body while doing different things. I’m sure you have noticed your child do something over and over again 1000 times. this is just them learning and how the brain buts down the neurons and pathways through the nervous system and muscle to be able to repeat the task at a later time. ( this also still works for teens and adults. you are still able to learn through repetitiveness, it just might take a bit longer).
Now for the list of schemas. look out for these patterns while your child is doing things, some of them will stand out quickly and some might take a while for you to figure out what they are doing.
- Orientation: This is the urge to get into different positions and see the world from different angles or point of view. like hanging upside down or when they are annoying and wriggling in your arms trying to be in all different positions.
- Positioning: You might notice that your child positions all their toys in a straight line, the might turn them all upside down or right way up. They might like thing all the same way or in certain positions. NO! they are not weird, this is just another urge.
- Connection: The urge to put things together, Lego, train tracks joining stuff up with string etc. This also includes disconnecting as well. You might see this expressed when they get you to build a lego tower then they come over and smash it or pull it apart, then demand that it be rebuilt so they can repeat.
- Trajectory: This is the urge to throw and drop items. this can include themselves. Maybe they start climbing and jumping off things like the sofa or a wall. they might also be fascinated with moving things like having to put their hands into running water and watch it splash off. They might even pour the water around the place to see it “fall” and land.
- Encloser/container: The urge to fill things up, climb into small spaces or hide in cupboards etc. they might also build fences out of their toys to contain other toys.
- Transporting: The urge to carry stuff, usually more than they can manage. They will use their hands, buckets, other toys and just pretty much anything they can put stuff into.
- Enveloping: To wrap things up, to cover their heads with a blanket or even someone else’s head. Peekaboo is a form of this urge also.
- Rotation: Anything that goes round in a circle. they might become fascinated with wheels, the washing machine, drawing circles, spinning themselves around to get dizzy or they might enjoy being spun around.
- Transformation: The urge to see what things turn into. this is the one that might get them in the most trouble. They will have an urge to mix things to see the outcome. they could pour sand from their sand pit into their paddling pool water, they might mix their food with their drink or they might even hold food in their mouth for a while then spit it out and play with it to see the result.
So that is the list of schemas. Now that you have seen them look out for them being used by your child. Ideally, let your child go with it because as we know these are import times of learning. If you think your child might be in danger or making to much of a mess on your new sofa, then try to recognize the schema they are doing and offer them a safer, cleaner alternative. they will happily do it usually as it is fulfilling their urge. It’s usually when we just try to stop the urges that they start to kick back and be naughty as they haven’t fulfilled that urge they had. As adults, we know this to well when it comes to us, so learn it for your kids.
As a coach or teacher, maybe look out for these urges and help them through designing types of play or games that will help the child fulfill them.
Hope you enjoyed this and I’ll post more on play soon.