Why do some children prefer to paint themselves?

Why? Ever wondered why some children just love to paint themselves instead of the paper!  It’s NOT because they are trying to annoy us adults or go against our instructions, to ‘only’ paint on paper!

Children learn in a multitude of ways and some children have specific ways that they make sense of the world.

Through repetitive actions (schema) children are finding out, being curious and constantly learning.  It’s all part of their learning process and we need to recognise different types of schemas in play.“ A schema is a pattern of repeated actions. Clusters of schemas develop into later concepts" (Athey, 2007). 

It’s an urge! To understand that children use play to collect information, and they do this in a methodical, logical and systematic way, through the use of their senses and constant movements. 

The way children learn through PLAY is incredible.

Just because it doesn’t make sense to us adults - doesn’t mean it’s not making sense to the child. They will use their entire bodies and senses to find out about the world around them, this, in turn, can also send calming signals to the brain. bringing order, understanding to what can seem a crazy and chaotic world. 

Let’s remember - they are finding out, discovering and all essential curiosity to Learn more.

 Have you ever noticed a child may cover themselves in paint? Or maybe wrapping themselves up in a blanket, sheets and covers.

  • Perhaps dressing themselves up in layers & layers of clothing.
  • Wrapping or bandaging up toys and dolls.
  • Maybe you’ve noticed that children will completely paint or colour over a picture or painting? They will cover the entire picture - right up to the corners and covering the original drawing! 

All these are ways children are learning and is meeting the child’s individual needs and learning styles. It’s what’s called an enveloping schema 

There are many different types of schematic learning styles and it’s important as educators, we understand and can recognise the different ones. To know our children really well, to observe and celebrate the way in which each child is assimilating knowledge and understanding When we truly understand children we see magic in their actions & step away from annoyance or frustration. 

We celebrate and understand that through play children ARE constantly learning! Do you and your team understand schemas? 

Have you ever taken the time to identify learning styles in play? This is such an important way to understand our children & then provide opportunities that interest them. Keen to step away from topics and themes in Early years? Once you know children’s learning styles, then your whole way of planning changes. 

Lead by the CHILD & not the topic. Wait watch wonder and we can all learn more.

Within our Curiosity Approach Academy we help you recognise WHY it’s important to follow the interests and urges of the child. Wait watch wonder and we can all learn more. It’s the last day to join today


Copyright Curiosity Approach

Written by Stephanie Bennett