• guided practice: practice of a process, behavior, or tasks that happen alongside an educator or coach
  • individualized instruction: instruction that is planned and implemented based on the individual interests, strengths, and needs of each child
  • modeling: explicitly demonstrating a process, behavior, or task
  • scaffold: a specialized instructional support that helps children learn; examples include prompts, hints, reminders, or models
  • visual and auditory cues: signals and other indicators to let children know that something is about to begin or end

Demonstrate and Scaffold

Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.

One of the best ways to guide young children’s learning is to model a task from beginning to end. By hearing and watching your process, children learn to think through a task and to understand what needs to happen first, next, and so on.

  • Demonstrate and explain. As you model the activity, show how to do it by explaining and showing each step. 
  • Provide time for children to practice. Respond and coach children as they work. This “guided” practice will help reinforce what they are learning.
  • Scaffold the learning. Provide supports, such as prompts, specific questions, or reminders that can help children follow instructions and learn.

In this video, you’ll see educators demonstrate and scaffold tasks to meet each child’s learning needs. As you watch, look for effective strategies used by the educators in the video and jot down answers to these viewing questions in your Learning Log.

  • How do the educators demonstrate and scaffold the learning?
  • What types of cues do the educators give to children to help them learn?


How can you demonstrate and guide learning?

  • Demonstrating and guiding learning supports each child’s specific skills and understanding. This also helps scaffold the learning.
    • As you demonstrate an activity, describe what you are doing. For example, in the video, Min-Jen shows a visual example of the pattern and then breaks down the task into steps. You might also make a chart that gives step-by-step directions or show an example of a completed activity for children to reference as they work.
    • Have children do each step with your guidance and encouragement. This type of guided practice encourages children as they learn.
    • Give children time to work independently, providing additional modeling or guided practice if needed. For example, in the video when the children plant grass seed, Karen is aware of their frustration levels and intervenes when they need help.

How does individualized instruction influence the scaffolding you use?

  • Like the instruction, the scaffolds are specific to each child. For example, in the video, Cary knows that a particular child needs extra help in understanding a concept in the Block Center. She refers to the child’s family in order to help him understand the number of blocks he is using and how they relate to each other in size. Cary then models the appropriate vocabulary and prompts the child to use the word medium by pausing and letting him fill in the word.


Think about your own program as you answer these reflection questions in your Learning Log.

  • How are you already demonstrating and guiding learning to respond to the different strengths and challenges of each child?
  • How can you better use scaffolding and create more individualized instruction for each child in your program?
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