When a child learns the most

I recently reviewed several theories related to child cognitive development. Some talked to me more than others, but one that I like to keep in mind as a parent is the theory from Vygotsky, a russian psychologist (more about him here).

According to him, children learn well when they are within their zone of proximal development, i.e. within a range of skills they can do with some guidance and encouragement, with the support of a more knowledgeable person (parent, teacher, peer, etc). A level right between a level they can do on their own (but may get bored), and a level they cannot do, even with some help (and will get frustrated. Or worse).

A quick representation of how my visual brain sees it may help you (as long as you bear with my drawing skills).

And when I think about it, I can come up with plenty of examples of zones of proximal development. We all can, right? When we help our children keep their balance on their bicycle until we let them go.  A hand to a child who starts walking. A reading buddy. And so on.

So I just like, when I sit down and do math with Rosie, to think about Vygotsky’s theory. I find it quite helpful.  Hope you do too. Is the task too boring? Too frustrating? Or is it just the right level so that we can embrace it, hand in hand, together?

4 responses to “When a child learns the most

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