Favorite (AKA great) teachers connect existing knowledge to new knowledge. The teacher is strategic in observing the child, being supportive and actively engaging the child. This strategy, called scaffolding, is a popular teaching method.
In a construction setting scaffolding supports a work crew and provides access to materials. In a classroom scaffolding involves teaching a child something new by building on what they know. Teachers provide just the right amount of help, at the right time and in the right way. This enables the child to complete a new task that is age appropriate.
Scaffolding builds confidence as a child learns something new and perhaps something they did not think they could do. With support, young children are primed to understand new ideas and concepts. Scaffolding also works at home because you support your child’s development.
As a parent, you engage your child in play and you model how to play. Consider peek-a-boo, a parent using the strategy of scaffolding, models how to play. The parent adjusts his play to match his child’s attention and interest. A parent may even vary the game to engage their child’s interest longer. This strategy encourages active participation and responsive parenting.
Ways to try scaffolding at home
- Be patient as your child masters a skill on their own
- Allow your child to explore or experiment with something new
- Ask questions “Do the bigger blocks work better on the bottom?”
- Encourage your child to break a task into small pieces – find the edges of a puzzle first
- Observe, listen and provide guidance
- Make a specific suggestion “flip over the puzzle piece”
- Share your child’s feeling of pride and accomplishment
- Offer praise