This paper explores children's use of schemas to construct their knowledge and understanding within the outdoor learning environment. It considers how a knowledge of schemas can facilitate practitioners to inform early years pedagogy. Further, it examines how the affordance of resources in the outdoors can nurture children's schemas. It charts different children's learning journeys over two terms and how ‘coming to know’ about their schemas, facilitated practitioners' different perceptions, shaping classroom pedagogy both indoors and outdoors. The research explores how loose parts and their affordance can nurture schematic development. Findings suggest that the outdoors affords greater engagement of the senses, freedom of space, enabling children to use the ‘loose parts’ in ways that are unique to them. Movements are greater, creativity is deeper, and schemas are overtly witnessed during outdoor play, where the self-governance of the play itself enables schematic development.
- loose parts
- affordance theory