Turning “Can’t Do” into “Can Do”
There is a concept in early childhood education called “the zone of proximal development.” If a child is at a certain level in development, and you give him a task that is above that level, he won’t be able to do it. But there is a zone of proximal development – a small slice just above where he is. He can’t get there on his own, but with the help and encouragement of a parent and/or instructor, he can be assisted into that zone of proximal development. That creates a new zone just above that. He can be assisted into that zone. That creates another new zone just above that. And moving the child up little by little using zones of proximal development is referred to as “scaffolding.”
That is exactly what happens at Romp n’ Roll. Children are presented with physical, intellectual, and creative challenges. And sometimes a child is initially unable to conquer those challenges. In such cases, it is tempting to just back off and believe “he can’t do that.” But it is important to keep in mind that those challenges have been designed to stretch rather than to merely accommodate the child’s capabilities. And with patience, persistence, and expert assistance, the child does conquer the challenge and keeps moving forward. We believe that one does not help a child by giving him a lighter burden but rather by enabling him to build broader shoulders.