Watching my son grow from a baby to a toddler is an amazing experience. More than anything in my life, it instilled tremendous faith in me. I’m not talking about the kind of faith as in god and the all mighty. I’m talking about faith in nature — it’s ability to develop and growth magically, intrinsically. One of my favorite activities as a mom is to help my son play. Maybe I’m a little helicopter in your eyes. But, I really enjoy helping him: getting him materials, letting him boss me around and showing him tricks when he’s playing. My son loves it too. He often asks me to come with him when he wants to play. Before talking about the Scaffolding Learning Method, let me give you a background.
The reason I treasured his play time so much is also because that there was a brief period of time when he was just one years old, that he stopped playing.
You see, for hours on end, all he did was opening and closing doors. There was a sense of something that’s “lost” in him. I couldn’t stop him. He would not stop it. I waited for hours for him to stop “openning” and “closing” the doors in his play kitchen.
It was nerve racking.
When my son finally started to play again, I was ecstatic!
You might ask how he got there. Well, there’s no trick to it.
After a while, I got impatient with my son’s incessant repetitive behavior that I started to redirect him on to play activities.
I literally sat myself down and made him play with me by guiding his hand to other materials, looking directly into his face while smiling and commanding his attention with my own “exaggerated” gestures.
After that, I appreciated his playing so much that I started to come up with my own method to help him play better.
This method came naturally. It was from my mother’s instinct.
1. I give him something easy that I know he can do.
For instance, he would start stacking blocks vertically. I would help him. After a few blocks, he would knock it down. We would both laugh together. We repeat this until he’s satisfied.
2. I challenge him with a something new.
Then, I would start to build blocks horizontally. I tell him that I’m building a bridge. After a while, he would start to build a bridge too.
3. I give him a challenge I know he won’t be able to complete.
Finally, I try to balance a large block on top of a skinny one. I ask him to marvel at how balanced the block is. He’d probably try it a few times and fail.
We’d then go back to number #1 and play for a while.
This process I just showed you is called “scaffolding”. It’s usually used by special education teachers and occupational therapists to work with developmentally challenged children. By working with these children one on one on activities such as #1 that builds confidence, the teachers then can gradually increase the level of the activities step by step to help these children reach their goal.
I did not know the process was called “scaffolding” until I spoke to an occupational therapist. It was enlightening!
Notice that the features of the “scaffolding” method are to:
-Set your child up for success by giving your child a simple activity.
– When your child encountered failure, go back to reasure the child what “success” looks like by going back to the original simple activity.
Using the “scaffolding” method, I watched my son conquer milestones after milestones. I’m delighted at the speed and the efficiency that he did it all. But I have a feeling the method helped him a lot too.
If you haven’t tried this, give it a go at home. See if it will work for your little one! I have a feeling I will be using this method for a long time to come.
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