Guided Participation in a Cooking Activity over Time

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In order to examine changes in maternal guidance over time, fourteen mothers and their preschoolers participated in a baking activity on two occasions over the course of one year. Maternal scaffolding and guidance, as well as parent and child engagement in the task, were assessed both times. Both scaffolding and guidance decreased at the second observation, supporting the premise that parental support is lessened as the child's experience and abilities increase. Results thus provided support for the zone of proximal development hypothesis. Children's engagement in the cooking activity was positively associated with parental guidance, though negatively associated with high amounts of scaffolding, or direct intervention. Parental guidance may have been associated with the child's greater participation and involvement in the on-going activity, whereas higher levels of scaffolding reflected more parental control of the activity. Finally, when asked how they normally provide help to their child in various contexts, mothers mentioned the importance of positive encouragement, verbal instruction, asking questions, and modeling appropriate behaviors.

Keywords: Guided participation; Parenting; Preschoolers; Scaffolding; Social context; Zone of proximal development

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, 2109 CB Elon University, Elon, NC 27244, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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