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Sociocultural theory is an umbrella term for a range of theories that offer social and cultural lenses through which to understand development and learning. Over the past 20 years, sociocultural theories have been adopted in early childhood education in an attempt to move forward theoretically from the earlier theorizing of developmental psychologists. Sociocultural theories include a range of concepts and ideas developed from Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s legacy that have implications for education. In different ways, these theories tease out the mutually constitutive relationship existing between people, activities, institutions, and cultures. In this entry, Vygotsky’s legacy and selected key concepts are overviewed. The entry further examines how sociocultural theories have recently diverged into two main branches: cultural-historical/activity theory and theories of participatory learning.

Vygotsky’s Legacy

Vygotsky’s theories ...

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