As your little one develops her sense of confidence and independence, she’ll need you to make her feel capable. Scaffolding is a learning process in which an adult supports a child’s development by providing a little help when necessary. Scaffolding allows the person to connect existing knowledge to new knowledge, skills, and further understanding. Successful scaffolding happens in what the pioneer psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1931) introduced as “zone of proximal development” (ZPD). The ZPD is the difference between what the child can do and learn on his own, and what he can do and learn with the help of someone more experienced.
Scaffolding enables a person to solve a problem or achieve a goal that is just beyond his or her current abilities. Anyone can benefit from this process and everyone has a different ZDP. Several studies have observed how scaffolding impacts children’s development. Findings report that parental scaffolding on children’s problem-solving at age 3 has a direct effect on their executive functions at age 4. You can start empowering your little one through scaffolding as early as you would like to. When you get a sense of what your daughter knows and wants to learn you can start encouraging her.
What do you need to take into account when practicing this with your little one?
- To set a realistic objective, remember where she’s at in her overall development.
- Understand her ways of approaching learning.
- Match your strategy to her interests, knowledge, and skills.
- Withdraw help.
1. When children are learning to walk, they often start by holding on to the clothes or hands on an adult. It’s not until they build enough strength and balance that they learn to walk on their own.
You see your little one pushing herself up to stand on her own. You give her your hand, she takes a few unsteady steps and falls. You identify her ZPD as the difference between standing up of her own and taking a few steps without support. A scaffolding method might be to offer her two small toys that interest her and see if by holding one toy on each hand and squeeze them tightly she can get the balance she needs to take a few steps towards you.
2. When your little one is learning about object permanence and socialization through play, Peek-a-boo is a very intriguing game.
As you uncover your face for the 10th time, you’ll see that your little one loses interest and shifts her attention. Help her pay attention to you by covering her face with a blanket, repeating her name, and saying “there you are!”, as you remove the blanket. That way you found a new way to reengage her and keep her responsive.
3. When your child is learning about shapes and colors, she’s more attentive to the colors in her surroundings.
If you see that your little one is beginning to identify the colors blue and yellow, in the morning, when getting dressed, pick blue and yellow clothes and lay them on her bed. Your daughter will be excited to get dressed as she identifies the colors. Tell her that day is going to be the day of the color blue and yellow, that you’ll be dressing in these colors and will identify them throughout the day in your surroundings. That way, you will prepare a learning environment based on what she knows and provide a strategy that matches her interests.
With your support and guidance, you’ll be able to challenge and extend what your little one knows and learns. Empowering her through simple play exercises will foster her confidence, developing independence, and future cognitive abilities.
For more information on this subject visit:
- The effects of parental scaffolding on preschoolers’ executive function.
- Rocking and Rolling: Empowering Infants’ and Toddlers’ Learning Through Scaffolding
- Scaffolding! 10 Ways to Stimulate Learning Through Play
- Mind in Society/ The Development of Higher Psychological Processes
- Adapt Scaffolding to Early Childhood