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 capable of constructing meaning and the importance of teacher presence in a play based curriculum. The essay will examine scaffolding through the theoretical lens of the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, the constructivist theories of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget and Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The essay will argue that all examined theories support the role of scaffolding in facilitating and supporting meaning making in children’s play and emphasize the importance of teacher presence in all areas of the curriculum, especially in a play based curriculum.
Importance of Scaffolding in Children’s Play
Scaffolding is metaphorical term which refers to the process through which teachers facilitate children’s learning by enabling them achieve a level of ability beyond the child’s current capacity. Through scaffolding, teachers play an active role by interacting with children to support their development by providing structures that support them to stretch their understanding or meaning making beyond the level at which they are able to function independently (Scarlett, 2005 & Seifert, 2004). The term scaffolding was coined by cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner who conceptualised scaffolding as the gradual withdrawal of adult instructional control and learning support as a child’s mastery of a given learning task increases (Berk & Winsler, 2010). Just as scaffolds help protect a wall while it is being built and then removed once construction is complete, the ultimate goal of scaffolding in children’s learning is to gradually withdraw the adult’s or caregiver’s support. This essay will consider the importance of scaffolding in facilitating and supporting meaning making in children’s play by examining scaffolding in various early childhood educational theories.
Scaffolding in Theory
Scaffolding in Reggio Emilia Pre-schools
As earlier mentioned, scaffolding in the educational context allows the teacher to play an active role in providing a temporary framework to support the child’s development. Through scaffolding, the importance of teacher presence in supporting children’s development through play well supported in theory. Scaffolding forms one of the cornerstones of the Reggio Emilia...