Two of the most well-known and well-respected theorists in the field of early childhood development are Jean Piaget (1896 to 1980) and Lev Vygotsky (1896 to 1934). Piaget proposed that a child’s thinking develops through a series of stages, and he saw children as philosophers, proactive thinkers, and scientists who construct their own theories of knowledge with the help of their outside worlds. Lev Vygotsy created the notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which was the gap between a child’s actual developmental level of independent problem-solving ability, and a child’s potential level of development/problem-solving ability when provided with assistance.
The “Zone of Proximal Development” (ZPD) occurs across all aspects of learning and development. Consider these examples from across the age range: a 2-year old who is able to independently say, “More,” but might also be able to say, “I want more please” with adult prompting. A 3-year old who is able to complete a 3-piece puzzle on his own, may be able to complete a 9-piece puzzle with help. A second-grader who is able to do addition and subtraction by herself, might just be able to do multiplication with assistance. And, a teenager who can drive a car into the curb by himself, may be able to stay within the lines with a driving instructor.
One important outcome from the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky is a well-researched technique known as “scaffolding.” Imagine your child as a “building” under construction. If the building (i.e., your child’s development) is at the level of the third floor, adults (parents, teachers) need to provide a “scaffold” that will support your child’s development (the building) as it grows taller and stronger. The “Scaffold,” therefore, extends through the Zone of Proximal Development.
Zone of Proximal Development (where a child needs a “scaffold” to continue building/growing)
“F.E.A.T.S.™ Techniques” were created based on the time-tested theories of Piaget and Vygotsky, and are squarely based upon the intuitive and highly effective educational principles of scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development.