Wendy Kettleborough on Schema and Parent Partnership

Wendy Kettleborough shares how identifying patterns in children's play uncovers conceptual understanding that builds brain architecture. Support schematic play through observation and provision of enabling environments. Transform relationships by clarifying children's intentions to reduce frustrations. Wendy highlights her Knowledge to Nurture training blending schemas, neuroscience, and reflective practice.
· January 12, 2024

Wendy’s research into Schemas and her 6 books on “Children and Schemas” have informed her work with children, parents, and practitioners. An advocate for children and life-long learning, her longitudinal study resulted in 4 published books and 2 awaiting publication to help children and parents understand schemas. Wendy’s books are used in “Knowledge to Nurture” sessions by the Manor and Castle Development Trust to promote reflective thinking about the importance of play and authentic interaction. Her work challenging common practices and assumptions is profiled in “Working with Parents – Today.” Wendy has spoken at Childcare Expo and universities and will present at the Nursery World Show in 2024.

In this session, Wendy shares invaluable insights on supporting children’s development through schematic play and conceptual learning. She explains how she first discovered the power of schematic play during her dissertation research at pioneering Pen Green Children’s Centre. Observing patterns in children’s repeated actions opened her eyes to the incredible learning taking place. She now trains practitioners to spot schemas in order to properly scaffold children’s explorations.

Key learning points:

  • Schematic play involves identifying patterns in the ways children play – lining objects up or spinning wheels, for example. This offers windows into their conceptual understanding.
  • Children are like little scientists confirming or refuting hypotheses through schema. Supporting this builds brain architecture.
  • Observe play, speak to children, capture photos. Schemas become apparent. Cluster together evidence.
  • Scaffold but don’t interrupt schema. Provide enabling environments tailored to individuals.
  • Understanding schemas transforms relationships between practitioners, parents and children by elucidating intentions. Reduces frustrations.

Wendy also introduces the idea of a “conceptual engineer” – appreciating the incredible job of Early Years Practitioners constructing young children’s brains through caring interactions. She outlines her inspirational Knowledge to Nurture training blending schema theory, neuroscience and reflective practice.

Whether you work directly with young children or want to build awareness of Early Years, Wendy’s insights could revolutionise your practice. Tune in now!


You can contact Wendy on: wendykettleborough@manorandcastle.org.uk


Home – Manor & Castle Development Trust Ltd (manorandcastle.org.uk)


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