Approaches in Early Childhood Development

Posted: November 28th, 2013

Approaches in Early Childhood Development






Approaches in Early Childhood Development


The developmental-interaction and the Vygotskian approaches, amongst other approaches, have been used in early childhood development and learning in the twentieth century. Both focus on the relationships between a learner and his environment, integrating ways of developing both the learner and the environment into working in correspondence with each other. These approaches differ from other approaches such as the approach developed by Piget, which suggested that children’s development precedes their learning. Although there are many similarities between the developmental-interaction and the Vygotskian approaches, there are factors that contradict the two. These contradictions should be used to strengthen the other so that the learning and development processes in children can be most effective.


The developmental-interaction approach focuses on the learning, the learner and the teaching. In this perspective, the learner is viewed as an active creator of meaning. He/she is filled with curiosity of the world/environment they are in, thus he/she is prompted to engage with the social and the physical aspects of the environment so that he/she may understand it. On the other hand, the vygotskian approach is more focused on the social aspects of learning.

While the developmental-interaction approach centralizes on the learner relating to the environment he/she is in, the vygotskian approach centralizes on the community on the face of the leanrer/child (Karpov, 2005). In other words, the former approach depicts how the learner, through the teacher, creates an environment, which becomes his/her learning environment. The teacher does this by studying how the children grow and learn, striving to comprehend their communities. On the other hand, the latter approach focuses on the roles of the rest of the community pertaining to the learning and development of the child.

The former approach divides them into three sections, which include the learning, the learner and the teacher. On the other hand, the latter approach divides into two sections, which include “more knowledge other (MKO)” and the “zone of proximal development (ZPD)” (Levine & Munsch, 2011). This means that the child starts by learning from other people facilities or facilities, which have more knowledge than he/she has (MKO) and then he can learn with the assistance of a higher knowledge if he/she is in that proximity (ZPD).

In an example, children tend to learn from the other people or things. For example, they can learn how to bake cookies through their parents or elder sisters, they can learn a new dance move from their peers familiar with it or they can learn more about another continent through a radio lesson or a computer. This is MKO. When a child knows how to write all the numbers, but fails to differentiate between two and five, six and nine, twelve and twenty-one or they write the number four the other way round, that child is said to be in ZPD. He/she is familiar with the numbers but they only need assistance from an adult so that they can get them correctly. On the other hand, the developmental-interaction is more focused on the teacher and the learner. It encourages the teachers to encourage the children to take advantage of their environments in learning.


As earlier noted, these two approaches work because they focus on both the learner and the environment. Since each approach focuses on one of the fields, they compliment each other. They encourage the child and the community to one in unity with the aim of making the utmost impact on the child/learner. These approaches are best implemented when they are used in collaboration with each other. For example, when a teacher studies a child’s environment, he can engage the parents and the child’s friends to aid the child in his/her learning process. Some of the challenges in affecting these approaches involve the environment. As the learner/child acquires positive learning from the environment, he/she also acquires the negative learning. Negative learning affects the child’s learning process negatively (Levine& Munsch, 2011). It is also a challenge to engage the community in the learning process of a child.



















Karpov, Y. V. (2005). The neo-Vygotskian approach to child development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Levine, L. E., & Munsch, J. (2011). Child development: An active learning approach. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.

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