Sunday, 14 April 2013

...but the blueberries are too sour

Two mornings ago, my little one woke me up asking if I wanted breakfast in bed.  Eggs, toast, mashed potatoes, sausages and blueberries were all on the menu.  A scrumptious breakfast no doubt, just what one so eagerly desires at 05:30 in the morning.  I nodded as an indication of my approval, so off she skipped down the passage and into her room where she began the preparations on her very own Ikea kitchen set, complete with a light diode hob (to encourage realistic role play) spurred on by no less than six AA batteries; yes six!  She returned a few minutes later and, standing by my bedside, fed me my breakfast in bed.  With the very first 'spoonful' of blueberries, I commented "this is lovely my darling, but the blueberries are too sour."

Okay, hold up...your two-and-a-half year old cooks you an imaginary breakfast in bed at 05:30 in the morning and you complain that the imagined food is not to your taste? What an ungrateful father I hear you gasp! Actually the contrary.  What I'm doing here is challenging her cognitive (thought) processing.  She is now faced with an unexpected scenario and will have to think outside of her usual thought patterns.  You see, children are agents of their own environment according the the famous psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980); they discover through exploration.  This notion of discovery has been labelled as scaffolding by Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934).  It is on this premise which building blocks, Lego, puzzles, stacking towers, etc are all based.  Children learn through the strategic instruction of their parents and the social world in-which they find themselves.  The zone of proximal development is an important concept that relates to the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what they can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled parent (if your skills in fact do lie in block building).  So with all this environmental stimuli going on, are there any biological happenings; the answer, quite simply, is yes (which I'll explore in my next blog).

So what was your daughter's response you may be wondering!  Who knows, it was 05:30 in the morning.
DUKTIG Mini-kitchen IKEA Encourages role play; children develop social skills by imitating grown-ups and inventing their own roles.
This image is the property of Ikea...and that is not my daughter

Learn more about Piaget and Vygotsky at


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