Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reading about Vygotsky

I am becoming a committed fan of Teacher Tom's blog, and his thoughtful and helpful posts.

Today on Tom's post he commented on an article which discusses play and it's importance.
This article cited several researchers in the field, most of whom support the vital importance of play in child development.(if you would like to read the full article please go to Teacher Tom 's post for today, and click on the link. (I tried to access it to make it available here but couldn't do it - I'm not all that knowledgable about downloading).

I haven't really read about Vygotsky in depth - but now plan to read more. (I have probably benefitted from his writings secondhand, in that I suspect many of the things I've learned about children's play were developed from his theories)

I like the idea of guided pretend play, and there are several references in this article as to how adult interactions, and guidance facilitates more enriched and imaginative language and play in young children - I think this is meant as scaffolding, and also allows for stepping back on the adult's part.

The author of this article refers to the strengthening of a child's "executive functions" - cognition, self control, working memory - through pretend play. He describes the child who may be pretending that a broom is a galloping horse for example, as using abstract thought.

I really love the quote from Vygotsy that pretend play allows a child to stand a "head taller than himself".

So thanks Teacher Tom for sharing this article, which helped me today feel positive again about my work.

We had a difficult afternoon today. The weather was stormy and we stayed in, and we were at our fullest group size with a  group of children who couldn't seem to really find a common ground, with resultant tears, squabbles, and some unhappiness. This in spite of me trying what I know usually works to get us through the same kind of afternoon in the past.  So today was an imperfect day, one of those days I remember I'm not perfect, and neither are my children.

Tomorrow will be better. I plan on it!


jenny said...

We all have days like those. And I enjoyed Tom's post today as well. Vygotsky is a big influence on progressive education as well as early childhood education, so I'm definately a fan :)

MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

Hey Jenny! Thanks for checking in. I always appreciate your kind comments!

Geraldine said...

The bad days pass Brenda. I think cabin fever is probably a part of the crankiness right about now, there on the Prairies, it's a long cold winter and if kids can't get outside and play as much as they'd like to, that can certainly contribute to bad moods etc...

Your committment to your work and the children you work with shines through each of your posts here. I'm sure the kids love you a lot!

Hugs, G

PS:Books on the way shortly, thank you.

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment about my recycled cars! I think we will leave them "as is" for now because Cassie doesn't seem to care if they are painted!

I love Teacher Tom! You could link the article. While you are writing----highlight the word or phrase like Teacher Tom and then click on the word link above where you are writing. Then there will be box to fill in the link. Open another window to search the Teacher Tom site, click on the title of the posting you want, then highlight the address and click and drag it in the box and then click o.k. or submit. You could go back and do this still.

Bad days make the good ones worth it! Thanks for the reminder!

MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

Geraldine thanks for dropping in, yes I agree we have been experiencing cabin fever, I'm sure everyone's spirit will lift when the weather warms up. I was just thinking about robins today - I just love their song, it sounds like summer to me. It won't be long for the robins to arrive.

Melissa thanks for taking time to explain to me how to download links, I'm going to try it with this article and see how it goes.

Wishing you a lovely day!


Pam said...

love this! I pretty much live off of Vygotsky "zone of proximinal development" in the classroom! I am a BIG believer in scaffolding children's learning- especially when children have some challenges that make learning more difficult! (and, yes, we've all had those days...bad days that is!...there's always tomorrow! Hopefully, the weather will be nicer and the kids can get outside and play!)

MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

Hi Pam,
Thanks for dropping in.
am really enjoying your posts on your blog, I always find some useful food for thought, and creative ideas.!

Geraldine said...

PS: I added some sunflowers for you, over at my blog! Just stopping in to see what's new.

Happy Weekend, G


MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

I have finally posted something at the new blog, when you are free just drop by!