Back to Basics…Schemas

With a clear, and increasing passion for early years, we are very proud that a number of our staff have taken the initiative and, whilst continuing to work full time at Juice, have also recently gone back to college, to advance their childcare knowledge and credentials.

As well as being great for their own personal development, this is proving to have a very positive impact as, on more or less a weekly basis, members of our team are becoming more proactive, taking the initiative to reflect on what we do, how and why we do it, whilst suggesting new things for us to try, and being extremely keen to share more of what they are learning with both their colleagues, but also with our parent group.  Which made us stop and think… maybe we should take a moment to go back to basics?

It is very much the case that different parents have different views on what they expect, and indeed want, from us as a nursery.  With a committed staff, we strive to offer a ‘home from home’, safe and caring environment, where children want to come, and have fun with us when they do. That is enough for some parents, who feel that the nuture and safekeeping of their child is their key priority. However, as you are probably more than aware, there is much more to it to us. So, if you want to know a little bit more about what we do and why we do it, then please read on!

The basis of all our planning, taking in to consideration the age and stage of the children in our care, is done with careful and close reference to the Early Year’s Foundation Stage Statutory Framework or ‘EYFS’, which is, quite simply, our bible!

But, what exactly is the EYFS we hear you say?

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old, which should be followed by all Ofsted-registered nurseries, such as ourselves.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework supports an integrated approach to early learning and care, giving professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.

preschool_chart4Going forward we (or rather one of our proactive thinking staff members!) think that it is important that we provide our parents with more information on the EYFS as their children join us here at Juice, so we will be including a simple Parent’s Guide to the framework within the welcome documentation included in our new joiner back packs.

But, now, here’s the thing. Children learn through having fun and frameworks and foundation stages and long documents don’t really sound like they lend themselves to having much fun…. which is where ‘schemas’ come in. Again, doesn’t sound that fun, until you look at what a schema is, which is described by Clare Caro in an article on Schemas as, “really a fancy word for the urges that children have to do things like climbthrow things and hide in small places.

They appear through play; perhaps it is the way they choose to do things, or what they desperately need to do out of the blue!”

Although children often show particular schemas in their play, not all children appear especially schematic. Some show one particular schema particularly strongly and others show several at once. Sometimes one schema which has been particularly strong will seem to fade, possibly to be replaced by another. Schemas offer a key to understanding ways in which children behave.

As with the characteristics of effective learning (the different ways in which children, as individuals, learn from their environment, experiences and activities) when considering the impact of schematic play on life at nursery,  having an effective Keyperson system in place is so very important.

Based on various considerations, each child is allocated a Keyperson as they join us here at Juice. This Keyperson has a specific focus on developing a strong bond and relationship with that child. By really getting to know the children in their care, Keypersons start to recognise  particular patterns of repeatable behaviour, what their key children like and don’t like doing and what they respond to, so that when planning activities throughout our nursery day, our staff can ensure that these schemas, can be incorporated, which can be invaluable in matching curriculum contact with children’s interests and needs to ensure that they go on to develop to their full potential.

You might like to read more about different schema’s in Clare’s article, however here are a few examples from our experiences here at Juice, to help bring schemas to life. It’s good to talk to please feel free to discuss this with your child’s Keyperson if you would like to find out more about their particular schemas, and you might also like to check out the display board in our Purple Room.


This child loves to spend time connecting train tracks before taking them apart. This is the Connecting Schema.


Here is a great example of the Trajectory Schema, where this child really enjoys jumping, throwing things and holding his hand under running water.


This child enjoys filling buckets with sand before carrying them around the room, usually emptying them out somewhere, before returning to the sand box. She also likes to fill prams with toys and push them around the room. This is the Transporting Schema.


Did you find this Blog of interest or helpful? Are there any other areas of life here at nursery that you would like to know more about? Is so, then we would love to hear from you, either by commenting below, or by speaking to your Keyperson.

2 thoughts on “Back to Basics…Schemas

  1. Funnily enough I found the Parents Guide to EYFS online a while ago and have since passed it on to some family. I did feed back to health visitors that it was actually quite useful and should be given out to parents at one of the checks. So think it’s a great idea to give it out when people start at Juice. As you say, people look for different things from their nursery but I’ve found I’ve got more interested in it the more exposure I’ve had to it all. X


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s