Introducing Vygotsky

A Guide for Practitioners and Students in Early Years Education

By Sandra Smidt

© 2009 – Routledge

176 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415480574
pub: 2008-12-08
US Dollars$39.95
Hardback: 9780415480550
pub: 2008-12-08
US Dollars$170.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Sandra Smidt takes the reader on a journey through the key concepts of Lev Vygotsky, one of the twentieth century’s most influential theorists in the field of early education. His ground-breaking principles of early learning and teaching are unpicked here using every-day language, and critical links between his fascinating ideas are revealed.

Introducing Vygotsky is an invaluable companion for anyone involved with children in the early years. The introduction of Vygotsky’s key concepts is followed by discussion of the implications of these for teaching and learning. Each chapter also includes a useful glossary of terms.

This accessible text is illustrated throughout with examples drawn from real-life early years settings and the concepts discussed include:

  • mediation and memory
  • culture and cultural tools
  • mental functions
  • language, concepts and thinking
  • activity theory
  • play and meaning.

Essential reading for all those interested in or working with children, Introducing Vygotsky emphasises the social nature of learning and examines the importance of issues such as culture, history, language, and symbols in learning.


'While few 20th century educational theorists are more influential than Vygotsky, his contributions are frequently misunderstood. Smidt works to remedy this problem with a text that endeavors to make Vygotsky accessible to early childhood educators and students.' - CHOICE September 2009, Vol. 47 No. 01

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: 1. Beginnings: Towards a Sociohistorical Appreciation. 2. On Mediation, Memory and Cultural Tools. 3. More on Culture, Context and Tools. 4. On Language, Concepts and Thinking. 5. Learning and Teaching. 6. Activity Theory. 7. On Play and Meaning. 8. On Bridging the Gap: More About the zpd. 9. What we Have Learned: A Summary. 10. Vygotsky’s Children.

About the Author

Sandra Smidt is a writer and consultant in Early Years education.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology
EDUCATION / Preschool & Kindergarten