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The Orientation Schema 

An orientation schema is an interest in viewing the world from different viewpoints. When a child is exploring this schema they may enjoy looking upside down between their legs or swinging and looking behind them. You may also find that children exploring an orientation schema will turn their toys upside down and look at them from different angles. 

Treasure Basket Ideas

Put together some viewing baskets for children to explore the world through a different lens.

  • Colour basket: create colour viewers by laminating coloured acetate films (create a frame by hot gluing lollypop sticks around the edge). Children will be able to view the world through a different colour.

  • Shape basket: create shape viewers by laminating card with a shape cut out of the centre. Children will view the world through a triangle, circle, square, etc.

  • Mirror basket: add a number of different handheld mirrors for babies to explore. 

Understanding the world ideas

Nature viewing area 

Create a nature viewing area in your outdoor provision and provide children with lots of different viewing resources.


What you need:

  • Nature area (this can be as simple as a log pile to attract bugs)

  • Cameras

  • Video recorders

  • Magnifying glasses

  • Binoculars

What to do:

  • You can simply provide viewing resources in a basket to encourage children to take notice of the nature around them.

  • Talk about the different viewing resources and what happens when children look through them. Is something bigger, blurred or smaller?

  • Introduce language such as ‘magnified’ or ‘obscured’. Children may not understand these words but should be introduced to a wide range of vocabulary. 


Risky Play



Risky play has a wealth of benefits such as engaging boys, building creative learners and developing necessary life skills including negotiation, turn taking and team work. Children take risks from the minute they are born; they are natural risk takers as they learn to roll, crawl and walk. Practitioners need to embrace this and continue to allow it, in turn promoting lower risk of actual harm.


By teaching children how to manage risks they will become aware of safe ways to explore their orientation schema. Practitioners are often worried about children hurting themselves and can sometimes become overprotective, putting their anxieties onto the children within their care. The risk of a few scuffed knees and bruised elbows is far outweighed by the learning which takes place when a child is exploring a schema. 

Exploring the orientation schema requires a fair amount of risky play for young children and it is essential that we allow children to take risks. Taking risks is an important part of learning.

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