Constructivist Theory

Parenting is the one of the toughest, most rewarding jobs you can have. Things really get put into perspective when you are suddenly responsible for a human life. There are so many new things to consider, questions to ask, but the biggest question facing expecting parents is – how am I going to raise this child? Child development is incredibly important for all young children and there are a number of theories outlining how to nurture proper development. It is important for parents to understand these theories of child development, so they can make rational, informed decisions when faced with situations affecting their child.

What Is The Constructivist Theory?

The Constructivist Theory is a child developmental theory developed by Jerome Bruner. He believed that by constructing new ideas or concepts for parenting, based on knowledge learned during past and present experiences, enables parents to Young boy climbing a playground ladder.make proper decisions regarding their children. By discovering outcomes and principles on your own, you encourage your children to learn and discover. This results in curious, quick-learning children. He also stresses a reward system for good methods and proper decisions. By engaging your children to solve questions on their own and rewarding them for correct decisions, you encourage problem-solving.  A parent’s role should be more of a facilitator than teacher. Children should be actively involved in the decision-making process and be given responsibility for their actions and for their learning. The Constructivist Theory promotes individual thinking and allows children to go beyond normal instruction by discovering meaning and understanding through self discovery.

Current Application To Child Development

The Constructivist Theory is more likely to be found in schools than at home, but if you understand the theory, you can incorporate it into certain aspects of your parenting. For instance, many teachers will actively involve their students in the learning process. Research projects, school trips, films and class discussions are all examples of Constructivism in the classroom.  By asking questions and encouraging answers, teachers are interacting with their students and utilising the Constructivist Theory.

You can do the same.  Age appropriate decisions or problems involving your child can be resolved by involving your child in the discussion process. Children are growing and learning every day. Using a Constructivist approach to help facilitate their growth can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child. Encourage dialogue, interaction and decision-making. They will appreciate the dialogue and will respond with a positive attitude if they have a say in the decision. Obviously they do not have final say over bigger decisions, but if you can include them in the process and make agreements over issues, it will be beneficial to both parties.


There are arguments against The Constructivist Theory. Some theorists believe the hands-on approach is detrimental to the learning process. They believe that this theory encourages children to be behaviorally active and not cognitivally Woman teaching two toddlers how to Meaning that although they are engaged in the activity, they may not be learning the material. This is translated to the home. If your child has a vital lesson involving their cognitive development to learn, they may not fully absorb the lesson. However, if it is a behavior-based lesson, they may respond well to the Constructivist approach. There is also the difficulty of engaging the right discussion with your child when decision-making. Some topics are beyond their understanding and therefore impossible for them to make the right decision for their development. If they do not understand and do not like the decision, involving them in the discussion will only make matters worse. Instead of a discussion then, encourage dialogue about the decision (to the best of their understanding). As a parent, you should not adopt a strict Constructivist approach. Rather, understand a number of theories and apply them the best way you see fit. This will develop a well-rounded, happy child.