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Focus on Elementary Education: Lev Vygotsky
  • Calendar Mar 20, 2015
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Elementary
  • Comments 0 Comments
Important People to know:​ Lev Vygotsky was a developmental psychologist in the 1930's. His work centered around how children engage in and develop higher cognitive functions in children. Why are his ideas important? Schools, and therefore parents, often focus on early math and language literacy development. However, there is evidence to show that children have the ability to develop more advanced cognitive functions at a very early age. The Problem: ​In middle school many students struggle with algebra because they have a difficult time migrating from the concrete nature of arithmetic (real numbers) and the abstraction of working with letters that represent unknown numbers. The Solution:​ Vygotsky believed that young children lay a foundation for higher order abstract thinking through imaginative play and questioning. When a child plays fireman/woman and uses a rope as a hose, they are exercising the part of their brain which is capable of abstracting a hose from a rope. That is the same part of the brain that is needed to see letters as unknown numbers! Take home message:​ Early literacy development is great, but not at the expense of activities that actively engage the child's higher order thinking and imagination. Want to learn more? Check out these educators in Colorado who are using Vygotsky's research in innovative ways. Jared Wells

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