Vygotsky’s Theory and its Impact on Child Development

vygotsky's theory

Introduction: What is Vygotsky’s Theory?

Lev Vygotsky, born in 1896, was a Soviet Psychologist who could be credited for his research in the field of child development and cognitive development. Vygotsky was a firm believer that through social interaction, one could develop the cognitive abilities of a child. This became the gist of Vygotsky’s social development theory. Speaking in simpler terms, Vygotsky was a firm advocate of social interaction and its impact on child development. This is the reasons why the preschools in Delhi NCR have adopted his theory. Gone are the days when the child’s education was considered a simple affair. The curriculums of all major schools have witnessed significant changes. Child development is not based on only one factor and it requires understanding of wider concepts like the impact on cognitive functions.


  • A child can easily learn from his parents how their culture is formed through informal or formal modes of communication. Simply speaking, a child inherits the qualities of his/her parents.
  • A child, under the guidance of a trained individual, can perform complex tasks. This brews from the fact if a child is guided and trained, he/she will be able to portray himself easily.
  • Through play, a child can stretch itself cognitively. For instance, children can underplay roles, which in normal conditions they may or may not find doable.
  • The more you challenge a child, more they will respond cognitively. This stems from the fact that children start as clean slates. They are like a clay that can be moulded infinitely.
  • Speech and language development are important pillars of Vygotsky’s theory. His work is based on these two pillars of child education. Speech, considered merely a means of communication, can be used as an important tool of thinking. Consider this as an example. A teacher XYZ conducts a poem recital activity in his classroom. By doing this, he is making his pupil recite the poem repeatedly. To an outsider this may sound as an obsolete activity. Under Vygotsky’s theory, this is called as the theory of language development.
  • Adults are a crucial cog in their child’s cognitive development. They can transmit their culture and values to their children.
  • Vygotsky also believed that a child’s curiosity is unmatched. It can be exploited positively to encourage them to participate in cognitive activities.
  • As per Vygotsky, private speech is not confined to a child’s activity. It acts as tools that can be used by the developing child fast track the cognitive processes. It helps a child in overcoming task obstacles, enhancing imagination, thinking, and conscious awareness.
  • A child who is raised in a cognitive and linguistic environment start using and internalizing private speech faster than children who are less privileged. Indeed, those taught in environments categorised by low verbal and social exchanges display intervals in private speech development.

Sadly, Vygotsky’s Theory has not received the same level of scrutiny and importance as received by Montessori’s work. That said, lately, preschools have adopted this theory with the open arms, as its impact on the child development is crucial. Perhaps the chief disparagement of Vygotsky’s Theory concerns the assumption that it is relevant to all cultures. Rogoff, another child development scientist, dismisses Vygotsky’s ideas as culturally universal and instead states the concept of scaffolding – which is heavily dependent on verbal instruction – may not be equally useful in all cultures for all types of learning. Certainly, in some examples opinion and preparation may be effective ways of learning certain skills.