The consideration of the zone of proximal development when helping an infant use a spoon begins with first identifying the spoon and naming the spoon itself. The teacher can begin with pretend play as the teacher may use stuffed animals, plastic toys and a spoon to play pretend with the toddler and show how to feed the animals with the spoons.
Cuing the child to feed the animal with hand over hand motion while using the spoon. The teacher can say, “wow what a good job you are feeding the bunny” and “bunny has yummy yummy in his tummy.”
The next day the teacher may present the spoon to the child and allow the child to explore the food while feeding the child and again using language to show the child that the food goes into the spoon and then into the mouth, again stating “wow you are doing such a good job eating with a spoon!”
On the third day, the teacher may use hand-over hand to allow assist the child during mealtime to feed himself/herself. The teacher may let go off the spoon and allow the child to try to feed themselves while holding the spoon. Again, using language to cue the step by step of what process takes place during meal time.
Day four may begin with the child being presented with the spoon and food and the teacher watching while the child begins to try to use the spoon for feeding. The teacher may again help during this process sometimes letting go and sometimes allowing the child to try by themselves to use the spoon.
One the fifth day of feeding, the teacher may allow the child to fully explore feeding by himself/herself during meal time, maybe stepping in at the end to finish the activity and use positive reinforcement to comment on a job well done.
Davidson Films, Inc. (2010). Vygotsky’s Developmental Theory: An Introduction (Davidson Films, Inc.). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InzmZtHuZPY.
Wittmer, D. S., & Petersen, S. H. (2016). Chapter 3 Understanding and Using Theories. In Infant and Toddler Development and Responsive Program Planning: A Relationship-Based Approach (4th Edition, pp. 61). Pearson.