08. “It is through others that we become ourselves”: A study of Vygotskian play in Russian and Irish schools
Fifty years after publishing his seminal work on play and its role in child development, Vygotskian theory is still highly influential in education, and particularly in early years. This paper presents two examples of full integration of Vygotskian principles into schools in two very different settings. Both report improvements in learning and in well-being, and exemplify the theory–practice–theory cycle, highlighting the development of new theoretical constructs arising out of putting theory firmly into practice. In both settings, the positive results have come from years of effort, in which school personnel who may have been skeptical at first, have been inspired by the impact of adopting Vygotskian play on the children they teach. The Northern Ireland study shows that at least some of the Golden Key principles (mixed-age play and enhanced home–school links) translate perfectly into very different cultural-historical contexts.
International Research in Early Childhood Education, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 129–146