As societies become more aware of the importance of early socio-emotional skills for children’s later success, teachers report that they are ill-equipped to support and enhance these skills within their ‘traditional’ teacher role. This paper turns to the contributions that Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and his adherents have made to our understanding of emotional development in early childhood. Following several main ways that his developmental theory described development through play, it proposes an extra social–individual dialectical relationship to explain emotional development specifically. The model supposes a special role that educators must assume to enhance emotional development through play: allowing children to understand and experience their perezhivanie at an individual level such that it is not relegated to only the social, as is the case in many cultures (e.g. when anger is admonished). This role adds to the recently proliferating literature on the adult’s active role in pedagogical play.
- early childhood education and care (ECEC)
- emotional development