balanced brain development and the connections between the different
parts of the mind.
•• Involving different kinds of learners in different kinds of experiences can
help promote rich physical, sensory, and cognitive development for all.
It is important to note that Piaget and Vygotsky were right about many key points:
Children are active learners who construct knowledge on the foundations of
what they already know.
Learning is interpersonal and collaborative; children need to learn from
others and influence others.
Children learn by seeing and replicating others’ patterns of behavior and
thinking as well as seeing themselves—their feelings and their actions—
mirrored in others.
Children of all ages develop by pursuing their ideas. They need opportuni-
ties to do things the right way, the wrong way, and any way they please.
Piaget was right when he described learning as largely a process of problem
solving. We encounter contradictions or confusion and return to a balanced cog-
nitive state by expanding our understanding through experimentation. Of all
the lessons of toddlerhood, this one may be the most important to developing an
In this chapter, I described a basic approach to projects and toddlers in early
childhood settings and outlined the major theories of toddler development, how
they have changed, and what they imply for early childhood programs. In the
next chapter, I present some basic goals and guidelines for applying these per-
spectives to setting up space, selecting materials, developing curriculum, and
establishing partnerships for toddlers to explore creative materials.