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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 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 me...

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...ng in the educational context requires teachers as the competent adults or instructors, it demonstrates the importance of teacher presence in all areas of the curriculum especially in play. Whether through Piaget’s cognitive constructivism or Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, it is important for teachers to actively participate and interact with the children to foster their cognitive and social development. To scaffold children’s play, the teacher is important in roles such as creating the right play environment by preparing adequate materials, designing the playing space and ensuring adequate play materials, designing appropriate play experiences to structure and facilitate the children’s development and facilitating interactions among the children and between themselves and the children to facilitate and support meaning making (Module 2 & Module 3, 2012).
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