Schemaplay is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that was first set up by John Siraj-Blatchford and Lynnette Brock in 2018. Our core aim is to contribute towards an improvement in the learning outcomes of disadvantaged young children, and a narrowing of the gaps in educational outcomes that are associated with socio-economic, cultural and gender difference. SchemaPlay is also committed to an early childhood educational philosophy and practice that is grounded in Education for Sustainable development (ESD). As such, the company seeks to work towards improvements in long-term health, wellbeing, resilience and quality of life.
SchemaPlay is not just the name of an organisation, it also functions as a verb: It is something that we do. It is a pedagogy. It is a way of doing early childhood education, just like Reggio Emelia or High Scope, it provides a method, a rationale and theoretical foundations for professional practice. At its heart is the phenomenon of the ZPDF the Zone of Proximal Developmental Flow, a state of optimal learning that young children enter into as they become absorbed in learning through play. In the ZPDF children are ‘in the zone’, they are in free play and in flow. Learning and development is achieved as they actively explore, applying established skills and ideas to different contexts, exploring their social, cultural and material environment and all of the resources that it offers.
The SchemaPlay ZPDF model identifies how others, both other children, and adults interact with a child and their learning during free flow play. The model shows how peers, parents and others provide learning models that may be intended or otherwise. The model accounts for the role of the professional early childhood educator, providing focused activity support, encouragement and provocations for the child to learn through their play.
SchemaPlay produces publications, resources and training opportunities for Early Childhood Education. We offer bespoke training, consultancy and research and development. Our current projects include the creation of training resources to support practitioners in improving learning and developmental outcomes through Play in the Zone of Proximal Developmental Flow (ZPDF), through Early Childhood Education for Sustainable Citizenship and in early childhood Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics.
Dr John Siraj-Blatchford
Dr John Siraj-Blatchford is an Honorary Professor at the University of Plymouth, and works as an independent educational researcher, trainer and consultant. He was previously employed at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education and served as an Associate Director of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme. He was commissioned by UNESCO to provide an ECCE review of the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable Development and he chaired the ECCE for Sustainable Development workshop at the 2014 UNESCO ‘End of Decade’ Conference in Nagoya, Japan.
Lynnette is an inspirational trainer with a wealth of experience gained from working with young children in a range of early years’ settings where she held a variety of posts including practitioner, SENCO, head teacher and group training consultant. Prior to SchemaPlay, Lynnette delivered the Early Childhood Studies degree, and is a Montessori teacher trainer. Lynnette is also an avid supporter of play in both the indoor and outdoor environment; in particular the role of play in contributing to children’s self-esteem, motivation, learning and knowledge. She is passionate about supporting early years’ educators in ‘seeding’ the play environment to effectively balance play and teaching.