Why Scaffolding is Important in Early Childhood Learning

Scaffolding - an engaging way to help your baby, toddler andpreschooler learn

What is scaffolding?

The term scaffolding brings to mind the image of "a temporary or movable platform or a supporting framework"

Did you know that scaffolding also applies to parenting?

You are your child's support. By incorporating scaffolding when engaging with your child, you will not only help build your child's skills, you will also foster their budding self-confidence.

You are your child's best teacher - their best vehicle for helping to build their minds.

One of the most renowned early childhood experts in education, Vygotsky, has research that supports 2 principles:

  1. Cognitive development is limited to a certain range at any given age.

  2. But full cognitive development within that range requires social scaffolded interaction

The more quality scaffolded playtime you give your child now, the higher level of cognitive abilities your child will be able to achieve later.


Scaffolded Learning is comprised of these Basic Steps:

  1. Notice what your child is doing.

  2. Acknowledge your child without judging him/her. "I see you are dancing with your hands in the air," or "I see you painted a picture of a tree.” Please try not to use judgment words, like "good job". Your little ones just want to be acknowledged without being judged. It’s important to remember scaffolding is about the process, not the performance.

  3. Do what your child is doing. Can you imagine the self-confidence it will build when your child sees you doing what he/she is doing? Go ahead, next time you’re playing together copy him/her and see his/her face light up!

  4. Offer ideas to extend the learning. For example, "I wonder if you can dance with your hands down low?" or "Have you thought about what else might go in the picture with the tree?"

Enjoy the Process of Scaffolding

From birth to 7 yrs is the ideal time for priceless scaffolded learning, Vygotsky would say.

Don't forget that a key element to scaffolded learning is your joyfulness in your play. Your happy, positive emotion must be present for scaffolded learning to occur with your child.

May you have joyful exploration time with your child!