Schema Theory

We recently discussed how educators document and record play in order to develop a better understanding of each child’s interests, wonderings and curiosities. One of the ways of understanding what is happening under the surface of play is by looking at documentation through the lens of a particular theory. This means educators looking at how a theory of children’s learning can help us to understand what is happening. One of these theories is schema learning theory.  A schema is a recurring pattern of actions that develops into concepts over time. By exploring schematic interests, children are interpreting, and developing an understanding of, the world around them (Athey 2013). Children of all ages explore schemas like; orientation, transporting, transforming, trajectory, rotation and circulatory, enclosure and enveloping, connecting and disconnecting (Van Wijk, 2006). Over the past few weeks at Baby House educators have noticed children explore the schemas of orientation, rotation, enclosure and enveloping. Orientation Our youngest children at the centre have been exploring orientation as they explore the different ways resources and their own bodies can exist spatially. Some of our observations have included children: Rotating boxes, face-by-face to explore all six faces Diving into cushions and taking time to explore the upward perspective from this orientation of their body Orienting themselves up high on the couch or on the climbing platform and viewing a downward perspective Transportation Children at Baby House have also been exploring transportation as they move objects from one part of our learning environment to another part.Read more

What is Inquiry?

In our last post, we discussed the road to inquiry, detailing some of the steps that educators may take towards implementing lines of inquiry, or projects. But just what is inquiry learning, and why is it a feature of the educational programs at Flinders? Put simply, inquiry learning is a child-centred approach to learning, where children’s questions or interests become an ongoing focus for learning. Educators centre children’s questions or interests by providing a range of experiences, resources and texts that offer support or extension of ideas. Inquiry approaches recognise that children are active participants in their learning, which is fundamental to the image of children presented in the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). This means that children have a right to make decisions about what they are learning. In Outcome 4, the EYLF states; Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating (p35) The EYLF further elaborates that educators support this learning when they; provide babies and toddler with resources that offer challenge, intrigue and surprise, support their investigations and share their enjoyment provide opportunities for involvement in experiences that support the investigation of ideas, complex concepts and thinking, reasoning and hypothesising encourage children to make their ideas and theories visible to others (p35) Through engaging in inquiry, children develop skills closely associated with scientific thinking, but learning in early childhood is not limited to particular content areas. Children’s learning is fundamentally holistic and intertwined; the scientific skills developedRead more