7 Best Strategies for Scaffolding Child Development

Understanding What Scaffolding In Early Childhood Is

Early childhood is where the enormous growth and development of a child happens. This can be a tough time for parents and children but with proper knowledge, they surely can make it less challenging.

There are many ways to help our children during this stage and one of them is through scaffolding. Scaffolding child development is a strategy that can be applied in a home or school setting to build children’s confidence while learning. If you want to know more about this method and the strategies on how to make it work, this article is for you.

Understanding Scaffolding
    What Is Scaffolding in Child Development
    How It Works
        Your Role – As an Educator
7 Scaffolding Child Development Strategies
    Give suggestions
    Give encouragement
    Provide feedback
    Use resources
    Give multiple choices to questions
In a Nutshell

Understanding Scaffolding

Scaffolding’s impression is usually directed to a term in construction for a temporary structure used by workers to access heights and areas that are hard to get to. The same philosophy applies to this word, in early childhood education—that is to give support and understanding to help children reach a new height in their development.

What Is Scaffolding in Child Development

Scaffolding is a teaching method in early childhood education that aims to build independence in children by supporting their development through strategies that suit them at a developmentally appropriate level. Educators play an important role in this method by giving strategies and support to allow children to succeed. In formal education, scaffolding is also known as scaffold learning, scaffold method, scaffold teaching, and instructional scaffolding

How It Works

It is expected for a child to have a hard time reaching a new developmental milestone. 

Scaffolding is a framework where an adult’s role (the teacher or the parent) is significantly seen by supporting and interacting with the children to enable them to solve a problem, carry out a task, or achieve a goal that is just beyond their abilities. This scaffolding child development method works well when applied alongside other strategies. 

Scaffolding also involves strategies such as breaking a task into smaller parts to make a skill or a milestone easier to achieve and master. For example, you are aiming for the child to learn the alphabet. You can break the whole task down through: singing the alphabet, the phonics for each letter, memorizing the first 10 alphabets, and so on. The goal here is to do a certain task one step at a time until the child eventually can complete the task on his own, with self-confidence.

Your Role – As an Educator

An educator in this teaching method is not just the teacher but parents or caregivers will also take part in this role’s responsibilities. In scaffolding, an educator performs strategies and techniques to fit the child’s needs at an ideal level.

One of your roles in this approach is to observe the children, identify the stage of learning they are in, and then offer assistance so they can move on to the next. This two-way method requires the practitioners to link the existing skills that the child already has and the new skills he has yet to learn.

7 Scaffolding Child Development Strategies

Parents or caregivers or anyone who spends time with young children are already using a form of scaffolding every day without knowing it, just by supporting them in learning new ideas and skills. This scaffolding child development method works well when applied alongside other strategies such as below:

  1. Questioning

An educator’s supportive role can be best demonstrated through probing questions to the child while doing a specific task. To provoke the child’s existing knowledge, ask some “scaffolding-inspired” questions such as the following:

  • What are you thinking?
  • What do you think will happen if…?
  • What else is possible here?
  • Do you have any other ideas?
  • What happens when we add or do this __________?
  1. Give suggestions

Offer a range of possible solutions and suggestions for the child to complete the activity. Giving hints or partial solutions can hugely help without giving away the answer. It’s like almost giving the solution but not giving the exact answer.

  1. Demonstrate

Help the child to complete a task through modeling or showing what to do, instead of completing the task yourself, just to finish it. In teaching the child to build a block tower, for example, in scaffolding, an educator can build his own version of a block tower to demonstrate how to do it and let the student learn through the teacher’s actions.

Building Blocks for Kids
  1. Give encouragement

The more difficult it is for the child to complete a task, the more your role will be appreciated by encouraging them to do more and never give up. Also, praising a child with a simple “good job” or “job well done” increases a child’s self-confidence, and sense of pride, motivating them to do more in the next activities.

  1. Provide feedback

Along with commending and encouraging, give your child feedback every time a task is completed. Acknowledge his small wins whenever he completes a task correctly, otherwise, ensure to convey your feedback positively for at least attempting to complete the task. 

  1. Use resources 

Activate the child’s creative thinking skills by encouraging him to use the available resources in doing an activity. For example, when asking them to draw a tree, you can tell them to sneak through the window and look for a tree so they can have an idea on how to draw. This helps to promote thinking outside the box to come up with a creative solution.

  1. Give multiple choices to questions

If the child is finding it hard to respond to a question, you can ask another question that requires limited answers like, “do you think using a pencil to draw your pet is better than using a colored pen? Or which material do you think is best for you?”

In a Nutshell

Children always need support in every developmental stage they are in. Your natural interactions with your kids to assist and support them already make up what we call, scaffolding. But by learning what scaffolding really is, you will have a greater foundation to have a purpose-driven collaboration with your child, every day.

To sum it all up, scaffolding is about promoting young children’s growth and learning by the provision of the appropriate assistance at the right time and in the appropriate manner. This teaching method is founded on the idea that children can more readily understand new lessons and concepts if they have support as they’re learning.