Friday, August 18, 2006

A new schema: scattering.

I was organising stuff in the kitchen when the scandal broke.
"Mum! Come here! Iris is on the table and she's throwing food!" Iris was frisbee-ing bits of pizza to the edges of the room. I got her down, sorted things out and said I couldn't have that, but that if she really wanted to throw we could, and if it was food she desparately wanted to throw we could go and feed the ducks, and if she needed to be on a table we could find one that was okay to be on, or maybe she'd prefer to be up on something else, like a climbing frame, or that if she was really into scattering we could arrange that.

"Scattering!" said Iris, slowly letting the desire drip off her tone, and then she zoned out, her eyes glazed and her face relaxed into estatic contemplation.

I diagnose a schema. Other people say schemas are repeated patterns of behaviour that have a common thread of thinking at an abstract level; and, now I think about it, it is true she has been scattering folded washing, rice, cat food, and urine lately. But I find the absorbed passion that leads the child into unusual trouble is the most obvious marker of a new schema.

When Martha's car arrived to pick up the kids for Playcentre this morning Iris immediately said
"Marfa! Today at Playcentre I want to do some scattering because I so love scattering."


Blogger Christine said...

Now that you descibe it I can see that pattern in Madeline's behviour - especially puzzles today -humm and corn. Thank goodness for wooden floors

12:29 PM  
Blogger susan said...

I find schemas often come in clusters or progressions which are conceptually related. Iris's pizza flicking combined trajectory and scattering; some kids take stuff to pieces and scatter the bits, combining disconnecting and scattering. There's a whole lot of theory about what different schemas facilitate the learning of, but I figure that children are learners (it's just what they do) and they often do it with schemas, I don't have to guess what benefit this has to the eventual adult, knowing that it's a huge intellectual passion in the child is benefit enough.

If it's a schema then re-direction within the schema often works better than re-direction to a different one, scattering may well include (thinking of areas of play) block, nail, sawdust, and sand throwing, applying dry glitter to glue, paint flicking, peppering, blowing wet raspberries, splashing, miming sowing seeds, obviously some of these are more adult-friendly than others...

Children like to talk, think, and do their schemas a lot, and they like other people who talk about, think about and do the same or very closely related schemas. Just like adults really; I like to be with people who're into my passions too.

1:27 PM  

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