SchemaPlay – Would you like to be an ‘accredited’ setting?

I have had a long career in Early Years and many varied roles within that. I came to further studies just over 13 years ago, with a secure knowledge in child development I was not sure what more I could learn! How wrong I was! Theory and research held all the answers for me, explained why I interreacted as I did, why I provided opportunities for children to explore and why I enjoyed observing children as they found out things for themselves. This whole new world gave me a new zest for my chosen profession and this is where I first found out about Schema. Patterns of repeated behaviour were referred to as Schemas then, we now know that what we traditionally referred to a Schemas are in fact Schemes, this was because Piaget?s work was misinterpreted through translation, the training explores the meaning of Schemes and Schemas in much more detail and these are both very relevant to children learning through play.

My Early Years Teacher Status led me to being an Early Years Development Officer for my local authority. The role allowed me to share my knowledge and experience and train EYFS providers. Six years ago I was made redundant and I started up my own independent consultancy Orange Caterpillar. I support providers across the South East and into London with all aspects of the EYFS. I have always been interested in the way that children learn, how adults plan and guide the learning and the way that ?a whole setting approach? nurtures and centres around the child. So for me, the opportunity to find out more about Schemes and Schema and the SchemaPlay pedagogy allowed me to deepen my understanding as well as widen my training offer and this felt the natural thing to do. Thinking I?d have enough knowledge to work my way easily through the training, yes, you?ve guessed it, I was blown away again! We learnt so much more about being in ?flow?, the wide range of schemes that children displayed and some new ones such as ?dabbing? and ?swiping?. We looked closely at how children learn through play with the help of a simple and easy to understand info graphic that now forms the basis of all the other trainings that I deliver. I?ve now recognised that I am in ?flow? too when I deliver!

Play is a much talked about and contentious issue but actually it?s simple. Children need to explore freely, be given opportunities, experiences and resources to inspire them, feel happy, safe and be given the time to be ?in the zone?. They also need adults who are willing to learn from their observations to seed, interact and provide critical thinking and of course other children to connect with, learn from and teach too. The SchemaPlay pedagogy really does deepen this, practitioners experience ?a real moment of ?I get play now?, and leaders delight in the reignited environment where wellbeing and involvement is at its highest and leaps in outcomes quickly emerge.

Being an accredited trainer for SchemaPlay also tapped into my skills as an external mentor for Early Years Teacher students at the University of Sussex and the University of Brighton. As a SchemaPlay accredited trainer I quickly establish what?s working well and build on the learning and go on a journey with providers and practitioners. This means that we, together, tap into current knowledge and build the understanding in the SchemaPlay pedagogy until, quite honestly, it reaches a crescendo! ?Practitioners are inspired and intrigued to know more, observations become richer and connections with children grow deeper. Of course it?s children who benefit most and observing this is like watching a little bit of magic happen and honestly makes you feel all warm inside! Children never forget the way that they learn and will, in turn, make great teachers themselves.

I have been very interested in sustainability for some time, on my own journey to saving more energy, being eco friendly and eating a plant based diet, but it?s only recently that I have linked this with my training and consultancy. SchemaPlay and the OMEP UK Early Childhood Sustainable Citizenship Award are intertwined. The Bronze award really focuses on ?children as sustainable citizens and links their learning through SchemaPlay pedagogy to caring for each other, the community and the planet. Parents play an important part in the setting achieving this award and when? we think back to learning through play the role of the parent is crucial to the developing child. Children become really animated about the things that they care about and a nature based curriculum really lends itself to connecting with living things and children come to their own conclusions about saving water, recycling and thinking about each other.

So, two separate but closely linked objectives for you, your team, parents and children. Be prepared to be ?blown away?! I am currently training to deliver the Silver OMEP award ? so much more to learn!

Delivering advice, consultancy, support and training at this time virtually. I am currently adapting the accreditation for SchemaPlay and the OMEP award to support you at this time.

Alison Featherbe

SchemaPlay Licensed Trainer