Scaffolding Children's Thinking

A group of four-year-olds are working together on a long straight ramp. They are having trouble getting the marble to go all the way to the end of the pathway. The teacher is close by, observing what the children are doing. This enables her to determine their goal and offer support as needed.

She scaffolds their thinking by drawing their attention to a problem area and encourages them to think about which direction the marble is going. The children make the necessary adjustments and the marble finally travels the entire length of the pathway. When teachers ask the right questions at the right moment, this provides just enough support for children to solve problems on their own.

© 2005 Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education