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Supporting the Transporting Schema

Otto putting rubbish in bin at HWM 14 months

Otto has started to do this really funny thing, he is picking all sorts of things up and putting them in the bin. Sometimes it's rubbish but sometimes it's Otis' school work and sometimes it's his own toys. I am sure he is in a transporting schema.   

Montessori talks about sensitive periods and I see schemas as being very similar. A schema is a pattern of behaviour that some children regularly display to help them make sense of their world. Children explore schemas differently but we can help our children by noticing and acknowledging when they are in a schema.

The transporting schema is when children move or transport objects around often repeatedly. They might use buckets or a wheelbarrow to carry things around and even collect things and dump them in a pile. One of the most important things we can do as parents is to observe our children, recognise the schema and get out of the way. We want to support their behaviour, not try to prevent it. Here are a few things that we have been doing to support Otto in the transporting schema:

  • Provide loose parts. Loose parts are perfect for collecting, stacking, carrying and dumping. You can see some of our loose parts here
  • Consider loose parts for outside. The child may even find their own. We love little piles of pine cones and seed pods. But we also have a set of blocks for outdoor play and often Otto will walk around with the different blocks and make piles. 
  • Leave out the walker wagon. Even though Otto is walking we leave out the walker wagon as this is perfect for transporting items. Children often enjoy pushing it around long after they have learned to walk.
  • If you have them provide items such as a child size wheelbarrow (for outdoors), a small trolley/pram/strolley/cart for the child to transport things in. There are also little wagons that the child can pull behind them that serve the same purpose. 
  • Provide small baskets, small buckets or a small bag in play areas. Otto has a cute messenger bag that is perfect for collecting and transporting.
  • Encourage the child to put things away - rubbish in the bin, compost in the compost bin, dirty laundry in the laundry hamper. If the child has a pile of clothes to put in the laundry hamper it can really help to satisfy this transporting need. They can also transport clothes from the hamper to the washing machine.
  • Encourage the child to pick up toys and materials. Things like collecting blocks and transporting them back to the block basket, or collecting playsilks and transporting them back to the basket.  
  • Encourage ball play. Otto loves to throw or push the ball and then chase it, over and over. 
  • Take regular nature walks but allow the child to stop and play - and pick things up (safe items like small sticks, rocks etc). 
  • If you have a sand pit provide little diggers, buckets or shovels.
  • Remember not to prevent transporting, sometimes this can involve a child dumping and then picking things up again, like dumping a basket of blocks and then picking the blocks up again. 

Otto will also walk around carrying things like his little broom, he isn't sweeping just transporting! For older children, the transporting schema can involve moving things with their hands and providing things like scooping and transferring work can be helpful. 

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