Tools of the Mind

The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (2nd ed.)

Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong (Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2007)


Most parents have no other frame of reference for education than their own personal experience as pupils in traditional schools. The average parent canít be expected to study pedagogy and become an expert teacher, but this book is useful as an orientation for parents to understand the complexity of early childhood education and view conventional teaching methods more critically.


Traditional schooling indoctrinates children, filling their heads with useless information while effectively destroying their natural curiosity and desire to learn. An alternative approach described in this book is to respect a child as an independent human being, and provide the child with tools to learn about the world. For example, teaching a child how to communicate doesnít have to mean demanding that the child repeat like a parrot what the parent believes is politically correct.


Vygotsky's approach preserves childrenís desire to learn, and promotes honest communication between children and parents. Becoming familiar with this approach will earn parents the respect of enlightened teachers, and promote the much-needed modernization of outdated teaching methods. The authorsí own research-based early childhood education program is being used in many schools around the country.