"Vygotsky's Cultural-Historical Theory in the Context of Modern Preschool Education"
On May 18 the special symposium "Vygotsky's Cultural-Historical Theory in the Context of Modern Preschool Education" took place during the VII International Conference "Early Childhood Care and Education" . The main topics of the discussion were connected to the scientific and cultural heritage of the outstanding professor of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Lev Vygotsky, whose ideas were profoundly considered and extended in the book recently published by Routledge (Vygotsky’s Theory in Early Childhood Education and Research/ ed. Nikolay Veraksa, Sonja Sheridan).
The moderator director of the Scandinavian Center for Studies of Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Modern Society, Professor Roger Saljo started the discussion by talking about the progress in cultural tool usage considering digitalization of educational process. Head of the Department of Psychology of Education and Pedagogy, Faculty of Psychology at Lomonosov Moscow State University Aleksander Veraksa spoke about cultural tools’ potentiality not only in cognitive, but also in motor development of a child. Professor of the University of Puerto Rico Anna Nieves Rosa introduced studies devoted to the challenges faced by modern teachers in the context of the development of preschoolers' self-regulation and the results of the studies.
The President of the International Union of Psychological Sciences, Professor Sathasivian Cooper noted that due to the era of information and communication technologies current context has changed dramatically in comparison with the times Vygotsky worked. He described modern conditions as a constant struggle between individual and collective approaches and pointed out that scientists nowadays have more chances to come to an agreement on many important aspects of preschool education than in the 1920s and 1930s. Professor of University of Oslo Francisco Pons stressed the complementarity of ideas introduced by Jean Piaget and by Lev Vygotsky in the way a child gets knowledge - with help of individual experience or a significant adult.
Head of the Psychological and Pedagogical Center for Games and Toys Expertise Professor Elena Smirnova drew attention to the changes observed in children with the emergence of ICT: the child becomes more independent from parents, yet more dependent on technology. She raised the question about the possibility to re-orient digital resources in the way they could compensate the diminishing role of a traditional play in preschool children’s life. UNESCO program specialist Yoshi Kaga noted the importance of Vygotsky's approach to solving current problems and shared UNESCO's experience in using it.
Head of the Center for the Sociology of Education of the Russian Academy of Education Professor Vladimir Sobkin marked importance of the personal development from Lev Vygotsky’s position. Igor Shiyan, Deputy Director of the Institute of System Projects of the Moscow City University, in his talk emphasized the necessity to understand and analyze children's narratives in which the child's vision manifested. Speakers noted the importance of creating cultural environment for the development of a child. Professor Nikolay Veraksa, summarized the discussion by the following notion: "The space for children development should be there, but it must be created first. Initiative, autonomy and responsibility remain as three important components in preschool education. And we, the adults, are in charge of the ways we lead children. ... Today, the professional community faces truly epoch-making tasks, but I know that we have enough strength, and we will find opportunities to accomplish them."
The speakers agreed on the importance of scientific discussions and decided to hold a joint symposium during the upcoming European Congress of Psychology in Moscow in 2019.