Schematic Play

In the Early Years sector, the term ‘schema’ or ‘schematic play’ is frequently used, but rarely understood. Schemas are described as patterns of repeated behaviour which allow children to explore and develop ideas and thoughts through play and exploration. These repetitive actions of schematic play allow children to construct meaning in what they are doing.

As practitioners it is important that we are able to recognise schemas as we observe children’s play as this enables us to extend a child’s learning by observing the schematic play they are displaying and link it to other areas of learning too, by focusing on and extending upon a child’s learning and play in this way supports the child in their learning and development,  supporting them in making good progress.


For both parents and practitioners, schematic play and it’s various different types can be difficult to learn and fully understand and identify, recently Chloe read a book written by Tamsin Grimmer, an Early Years trainer and consultant, called ‘Observing and Developing Schematic Behaviour in Young Children’ and was the first to review Tamsin’s first ever book! Here’s what Chloe found;

“In the Early Years Sector, the term ‘schemas’ is frequently used by practitioners, but not always understood. Tasmin Grimmer identifies this in this simple and informative book. The target audience is identified as practitioners and parents alike; which is fitting with the simple yet informative style in which the book is written, however more experienced practitioners may find the introductory chapters somewhat over-simplified, although these chapters are a crucial starting point for any parents with limited knowledge of children’s brains, schemas and the observation and planning cycle.
The book is set out into easily accessible and identifiable chapters, each one focusing on each type of schematic play/behaviour, with real-life examples which is brilliant for relatability purposes for practitioners with sample observations of real children and their play, cementing the information given then giving clear and understandable examples of how the observations of these types of schemas can be unpicked, linked to additional learning and extended into further learning opportunities and activities. These are particularly useful for practitioners who have a limited or non-existent knowledge of schemas prior to reading this book.
For parents, this book is perfect for understanding certain behaviours and play types children display and stresses the importance of how these behaviours are all learning opportunities for children and can be supported and extended in order to facilitate the child’s learning and development.
Tamsin Grimmer’s extensive experience and research in this area is evident through her impressive knowledge, professional yet informative and conversational narrative that she employs for this book and for practitioners of any experience (and parents alike) will be guaranteed to read this book and learn something new and be able to facilitate and support children’s learning and development in either a professional or parental environment.
I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain a deeper insight into, or learn about schematic play and behaviours and feel that this book is accessible to a varied audience which is a huge selling point, particularly when so many other books within the Early Years sector are written in such a professional and academic manner which isolates a significant audience, this book can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone wishing to develop their own knowledge and understanding of children’s learning and development.”

We believe that parents’ understanding of children’s play types and behaviours are just as important as those of the practitioner as parents ultimately are the children’s first and foremost educator and so understanding the meanings behind the different behaviours within children’s play is essential and this book is a great starting point for understanding the basics of children’s play and schematic behaviour.


(Image courtesy of Google Images.)

You can order a copy of Tamsin’s book here:


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