Schemas: Connecting

What To Look For

"This schema is easy to spot and is characterised by joining (or connecting) things together."

  • Wherever there is LEGO, Mobilo, Meccano or similar construction toys, you're likely to find a child with this schema. Although, it's expression is not limited to these toys.
  • Connecting (along with disconnecting) is a preliminary skill for writing. We connect letters together to make a word, or words to make a sentence.
  • Children displaying this schema may also like to:

What can we do to extend this schema?

  • watch activities that involve connecting
  • read books about connecting
  • connect themselves to other things, whether by holding hands or using sticky tape etc.

How To Enhance Learning In This Schema

Talk to the child about what he/she is doing, give them words to describe what they are doing, such as joining, linking, constructing, combining and attaching.

Look for ways to encourage exploration. Ask questions, like:

  • What do you think will happen if you connect this wire to this lightbulb? (In the context of using a BrainBox kit.)
  • Can you think of another way to join the two pieces of wood together?
  • What does it feel like when you click the two pieces of track together?

Create increasingly stimulating and challenging set-ups

  • Children need familiarity and repetition, but also variety and challenge.
  • Without making drastic changes, look for ways to increase the complexity and challenge of a connecting setup.
  • Provide for groups of children with similar schemas
  • Look for ways to enable groups of children with similar schemas to play together. They will stimulate each other, providing encouragement and new ideas.

Read books about connecting, children love to hear and read stories about things they are interested in. Reading books with connecting themes will extend their connecting vocabulary and give them opportunities to explore new ideas about connecting.

Take pictures and write learning stories, Children learn by revisiting activities again and again. Looking at photos and reading learning stories is a way of revisiting, and an opportunity for children to deepen their understanding of the activity.

Play Ideas That Involve Connecting

  • Things like LEGO, Mobilo and Meccano are obvious choices for a child with a connecting schema, but there are many other choices:

  • Threading beads
  • >
  • Making a junk creation by sticking things together with glue and sticky tape
  • Constructing a marble run
  • Doing some carpentry (e.g. nailing or gluing some pieces of wood together)
  • Connecting up an electronic circuit with a BrainBox kit
  • Experimenting with magnets and metal objects
  • Putting a puzzles together
  • Making a paper chain
  • Making a human train by holding hands
  • Learning a new knot and tying two pieces of string together with it
  • Pressing playdough together and making a large shape
  • Making a watercourse by joining tubes and pipes together

Te Whāriki

By supporting a child's schema, such as connecting, you are encouraging their exploration, empowering them in their passion and nurturing their wellbeing. These are three of the strands of Te Whāriki.

To learn more about Te Whāriki, visit the website.


Our thanks to the Auckland Playcentre Shop for permission to use this article. Great play starts here.