From constructivism towards social constructivism in the area of preschool education Dr. Ljubica Marjanovič Umek
Summary: In the article, we compare the concepts of childhood, typical of constructivism, as a way of the development of child’s mental structures and the formation of knowledge with childhood concepts, which are in the background of social constructivism. Constructivism, which is to the large extent derived from Piaget’s theory of cognition, treating the child in its early childhood as an epicentric individual, who is »insensitive« to social and symbolic environment, as an individual whose thinking is perceived, preoperative, little or not at all connected to speech and other symbolic ways of expression, has consequently some weak points also in carrying out concepts of learning and teaching. In the process of learning, child’s maturity is extremely important. Teaching is directed to the child and it is derived from the child respectively. Besides, the child itself constructs its knowledge, the development is universal and individual differences between children are overlooked as well as environmental factors and planned learning and teaching respectively. Social constructivism, derived from sociocultural theories of development and learning, regards infants and children in their early childhood as socially and cognitively competent individuals, from whom learning and teaching in the area of near development which is going on in symbolically rich social context, is of significant importance for their present and later development and learning. Its implementation into school area created new educational concepts, which are focused on metacognitive and metalinguistic children’s abilities, peers’ social interactions, cooperative learning, adults’ stimulating and learning in developmental periods, different kinds of knowledge.