BLOG: Schemas

From birth, children repeat their actions and behaviours (schema). For example, grasping, lifting, sucking, mouthing, waving and banging are all early schemas.

The following piece is extracted from the book Schemas, written by Stella Louis, early years specialist, and funded for print bilingually by Early Years Wales in 2019.

Young child using trajectory schema

Children have a natural urge to do the same things again and again, whether it is throwing things, hiding things all over the house in bags, or emptying all the toys out of the box. This repetitive behaviour helps children to develop and deepen their understanding of concepts.

Schemas link directly to how the young brain develops and grows. As children repeat their actions they make important connections in their brains, which helps them to modify or make changes to their actions. This is a vitally important element in young children’s development and learning.

Parents, practitioners and carers can support children by understanding schemas and encourage children to play and learn in a way that links to the child’s schematic interests.

Knowledge of schemas can help you to describe in more detail the ways in which a child is approaching learning. You can use this knowledge to help you understand a child’s behaviour.

Front covers of Schemas Book published by Early Years Wales

If you would like to learn more about how you can recognise a child’s schema and what the different schemas are called. Early Years Wales members can download a copy for FREE.

Simply log-in to your members account via


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