The Importance of Scaffolding in Children’s Play

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One of the most successful and influential early childhood educational strategies that have been used to promote children’s social and cognitive development is scaffolding. Scaffolding generally refers to the process through which adults facilitate children’s learning by enabling them achieve a level of ability beyond the child’s capacity at the time (Scarlett, 2005). This essay will discuss how scaffolding facilitates and supports meaning making in children’s play. First, the essay will briefly introduce the concept of scaffolding and its importance in children’s development. The essay will then explore various early childhood educational theories that support or acknowledge the role played by scaffolding, the view of children as learners…show more content…
The zone of proximal development refers to the distance or developmental gap between what the children can accomplish by themselves in learning and the next stage of learning which they can achieve aided by competent assistance from an adult caregiver. Bruner drew heavily from the works of Vygotsky, particularly the zone of proximal development, in conceptualizing scaffolding (Berk and Winsler, 2010 & Lambert and Clyde, 2003). Vygotsky regards play as the leading source of children’s cognitive development (Vygotsky, 1962 & Lambert and Clyde, 2003). For Vygotsky, children begin their development by first thinking with others or at the prompting of others before they are capable to think independently. Therefore, from Vygotsky’s approach, cognitive development essentially occurs through scaffolding where the child first interacts with the teacher (as the competent adult) who helps identify their zone of proximal development and gradually, through guided discovery, withdraws this guidance and support to enable the child think independently. The teacher identifies the zone of proximal development or the area where the child
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