Local Authority, Trusts and Group Setting projects

In our work with range of pre-schools across the UK and abroad, we have found that one of the biggest challenges for early years’ educators has been effectively ‘seeding’ children’s confidence and learning through play.

A concern often expressed by early childhood educators has been the question of how formal or informal, structured or unstructured each learning experience should be. Many find it difficult to explain the process of learning and development in play, and the benefits and nature of ‘flow’ in free-flow play. Early childhood educators have also been concerned about appropriate aspirations for children’s learning and development and ‘tuning’ into the unique child; affirming and responding to their history – their knowledge, their investigations, and operational capabilities, to effectively scaffold learning and support mastery behaviour.

We introduce our Zone of Proximal Developmental Flow (ZPDF) model as a valuable tool for anyone working with young children and in answer to all of these questions.

We have also produced a SchemaPlay Curriculum Wheel to reduce cognitive load for early years educators and children – a great tool to support truly child-led learning through play.

If your organisation would like to book SchemaPlay training for a group of settings, or engage in SchemaPlay action research, please contact admin@schemaplay.com

Our previous collaborations and action research projects have included:-

Improving Learning Outcomes Through Free-Flow Play – An Action Research Project with Walsall Local Authority SLE’s headed up by Nicola Hart and her team and the SchemaPlay Directors.

Improving Outcomes Through Free-Flow Play & Education for Sustainable Citizenship. The design of a Sustainability Award for the World Organisation of Early Childhood (UK). This is the current OMEP-UK Education for Sustainable Citizenship Award. SchemaPlay provided the design and training of trainers.

Training for the Pickhurst Primary Acadamy: Improving Outcomes through Free-Flow Play & Sustainable Citizenship.

Training/Workbook and the SchemaPlay Setting Accreditation dissemination with Murdoch University, AISWA, and Catholic Education in Western Australia.

Training/Workbook and the SchemaPlay Setting Accreditation dissemination with Montessori Centre International.

SchemaPlay Training and Resourcing (providing online materials) for Tops Day Nurseries.

SchemaPlay training for Solihull Local Authority and resourcing: Improving Outcomes through Free-Flow Play.

SchemaPlay training for Bromley Local Authority and resourcing: Improving Outcomes through Free-Flow Play.

A joint project/copyright literature and training materials to support ‘Sustainable Citizenship & Outcomes’ with Kent Local Authority

Training to support ‘flow’ with the Football Association, St George’s Park.

A small scale action research project for KidZania London to address ‘flow’ in children’s free-flow play and raising children’s aspirations.

2019: SchemaPlay Training for RAFA Kidz

2018: Bespoke SchemaPlay Workbooks for Universities in the UK to include in their play modules across England.

2018: SchemaPlay Training for Action 4 Children.

2018 SchemaPlay Training for the Aspire Group.


Many texts focus on the ‘fundamental difference’ between the perspectives of Piaget and Vygotsky.  This, I feel, has hindered pedagogical progression in the early years: One of the most important advances in early childhood education that these two great theorists have contributed to is the notion of emergence, emergent development.  

‘Emergence’ is a philosophical notion that dates back to the earliest writings in 19th century psychology, an underlying assumption in the developmental psychologies of both Piaget and Vygotsky (Sawyer, 2003).

“A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what he has experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions he has acquired.” (Vygotsky, 2004, p. 11).

In free-play, as Piaget (1969) explained, children assimilate known schemes (operations) to new schema contexts (different situations/activities/resources). 

In their earliest years most of children’s newly acquired schemes and schemas come through observation and imitation; they learn most of their new actions and behaviours from significant adults and children around them. But as children’s learning and development advances, focussed/guided activities become more significant, where the adult sensitively extends the child’s schemes and schemas, to support new schemes and knowledge in a meaningful context, which the child takes into their self-chosen play to make sense of and to utilise further, fostering problem solving capabilities, confidence, self-recognition and agency; extending learning and development, through free-flow play. The SchemaPlay Zone of Proximal Developmental Flow model to support emergent learning is discussed and provided in our training, along with our SchemaPlay Curriculum Wheel.

Lynnette Brock