Schemas: transforming

What To Look For

This schema is characterised by an interest in things changing (or 'transforming').

Transformers love to dress up, bake, turn lights on and off, mix different coloured paints together, cover themselves in sticky stuff – anything that brings about a transformation of some kind.

They may also like to:

  • watch transformations happening
  • read about transformations
  • play with children with trajectory schemas, who have related interests (pouring and mixing milk into flour, 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 mixing, changing, moulding, covering, creating and melting.

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

  • What do you think will happen if we water the plant and put it in the sun?
  • Can you think of another way to mix that?
  • How could you change yourself into a tiger?

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 transforming 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 transforming

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

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

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 Transforming

Transformers love messy play, so make sure you provide plenty of opportunity for that.

Playing with paint, dye, glitter and anything else that can be mixed, squeezed or applied to a surface (including the body!)
Putting on costumes, masks and wigs
Bathing dolls (in coloured water, perhaps) and dressing/undressing them
Shaping playdough
Making bubbles with detergent
Melting ice
Creating with craft material, scissors and glue
Planting seeds and watching the plants grow
Doing science experiments that involve transformation (e.g. connecting a light to a switch, or making a volcano)
Turning over a tornado tube
Putting together a monarch butterfly life-cycle puzzle

Te Whāriki

By supporting a child's schema, such as transforming, 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.