Schemas: Rotation & Circularity

What To Look For

"This schema is characterised by an interest in things that turn, or are circular or curved."

• Children who display this schema will love things like turning steering wheels, beating eggs, painting circles, watching clothes dryers and playing with spinning tops.; They may also like to:

  • watch activities that involve rotation
  • read books about rotation and circles
  • be spun around, themselves (on a tyre swing, for example).

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 spinning, rotating, circling, orbiting and curving.

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

  • What do you think will happen if you make the circle bigger?
  • Which other parts of your body can you spin around?
  • Where else in the playground can you see a circle?

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 rotation and circularity 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 rotation and circularity

Children love to hear and read stories about things they are interested in.

Reading books with rotation/circularity themes will extend their rotation/circularity vocabulary and give them opportunities to explore new ideas about rotation/circularity.

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 Rotation & Circularity

Circles and things that rotate are everywhere. Here are a few ideas to get you rolling:

Having a marble race
Playing with a hula hoop
Doing some mark making on an old turntable
Baking with egg beaters or rotating sifters
Having a spinning-top competition (to see who can keep the top spinning the longest)
Circle spotting
Mixing baking ingredients (or other concoctions, such as gloop) with circular motions
Spinning on a Twing
Doing roly polies on a grass slope
Pretending to be a washing machine
Creating some art on a Spirograph

Te Whāriki

By supporting a child's schema, such as rotation and circularity, 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.