Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Although Vygotsky's interest in the issues of learning and development was not limited to any specific age, it seems that many of his best known ideas are often discussed in the context of the development of younger children. It makes our job as authors who venture to present the Vygotskian perspective on this subject both easy and challenging. The easy part is to review these well-known ideas, including the relationship between teaching/learning and development, the role of make-believe play, and the evolution of oral speech from public to private. The challenging part is to look beyond these familiar themes and to present an integral picture of preschool age from Vygotsky's perspective and in the broader context of the cultural–historical perspective. Considering that Vygotsky's own writing on this subject is sometimes fragmented and presents more of a series of brilliant insights than a complete theory, we believe that adding the work of post-Vygotskians will enrich the readers' theoretical understanding and at the same time provide a necessary connection to possible practical applications.
DEFINITION OF PRESCHOOL AGE
When describing Vygotsky's approach to the issues of learning and development of preschool children, one should be aware of the meaning of the term preschool age in Vygotsky's times. Meaning literally “prior to entering school,” this term was used to describe a child up to the time he or she reached the age of 7 or even 8 years.