Understanding Schemas and Emotion in Early Childhood makes explicit connections between young childrens spontaneous repeated actions and their representations of their emotional worlds. Drawing on the literature on schemas, attachment theory and family contexts, the author takes schema theory into the territory of the emotions, making it relevant to the social and emotional development strand in early childhood education.

Based on research carried out alongside children, parents, workers and co-researchers at the world-famous Pen Green Nursery, and using case studies of a small number of individual children, the author shows new links between cognition and affect. The book includes a brief summary of a method of Child Study, using video and reflections on video sequences.

This book will be of interest to students and practitioners on Early Childhood undergraduate and postgraduate courses, as well as those taking modules on schema theory.

Conclusions and Theorising about Schemas and Emotions

Conclusions and theorising about schemas and emotions

Metaphors ‘give form to the inexpressible’. (Lawley and Tomkins, 2000, p. 9)

This final chapter brings together:

  • Some tentative generalisations about schemas and emotions
  • Some emerging ideas about gender differences
  • Links between schemas and metaphor, and suggests
  • A concept I have named ‘reflective expansion’ to explain what the process might be for each child


I began this part of the study with a ‘hunch’ that young children are motivated to explore certain schemas or repeated patterns because of emotional events in their lives at the time. This link could be made more easily with some children's actions than others. The evidence from these children is certainly not conclusive. For example, Sam was verbalising her concerns and revealing her ...

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