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The cultural-historical analysis of early childhood considers the problems associated with the means of mental activity. Traditionally, psychological means (for example, language and other mental instruments), according to L.S. Vygotsky, were interpreted as tools allowing the control of human behavior (tools ...

The cultural-historical analysis of early childhood considers the problems associated with the means of mental activity. Traditionally, psychological means (for example, language and other mental instruments), according to L.S. Vygotsky, were interpreted as tools allowing the control of human behavior (tools such as a traffic light, alarm clock, diary, calculator). Vygotsky primarily attributed signs to cultural means, especially highlighting the word among signs as a universal means that humans evolved to use in sophisticated ways. The traditional view has been that because adults know how to use these devices, they must facilitate and scaffold a child’s learning and development.

However, digitization puts a question of understanding computers and other gadgets: is it an environmental element or a cultural means of influencing human behavior? As the child is interacting directly with the gadget, does it change the nature of the zone of proximal development? Thus, a new factor is emerging that affects child development, depending on the nature of the interaction between children and adults with digital devices. New circumstances caused by digitization must be considered, in research, particularly within cultural-historical psychology, and in the organization of the educational process.

Cultural-historical theory defines several directions for the analysis of childhood. One of them involves the analysis of the social situation of development - the leading relationship between the child and social environment, which determines the semantic specifics of a particular age. Traditionally, in preschool age, this attitude was considered in the context of play activity. The interpretation of play from a cultural-historical perspective allows us to consider play as a multidimensional form of activity. In modern conditions, with widespread digital devices and play with them (e.g., in video games), the influence of digital play on the development of higher mental functions must be articulated and considered carefully.

An important aspect of child development, which Vygotsky paid particular attention to, is the relationship between the cognitive and affective aspects of the child's psyche. This unity is expressed in the relationship between the understanding of emotions and thinking. Here it is important to understand how digitization (the time and nature of interaction with digital devices) affects the behavior of children in play situations and their emotional and intellectual development, and how this affects the understanding of emotions and the development of thinking.

Vygotsky emphasized the paradoxical nature of development: what should appear at the end of development already exists at its beginning. The development of society is fundamentally different from individual development. The fact is that the highest ideal form in the process of historical development did not exist before in its beginning, it was invented during the development of society. For example, the concept of number was developed gradually: there were Roman numbers, then Arabic numbers, then number theory. Now the concept of number has already been developed, and it exists before the birth of a child. Lev Vygotsky writes that a child has his own primary ideas about numbers. At the end of the study of mathematics at school, the child should form the correct idea of ​​what a number is. However, the primary concept begins to interact with the concept of a number, which is owned, for example, by a close adult. His / her concept of the number represents an ideal form, i.e. correct concept of number. Vygotsky called the situation when a close adult talks with a child about numbers from the standpoint of this ideal understanding of number “a developmental paradox”, since a child at the end of development must come to the same understanding that a close adult already has and which he meets at the beginning of his development. This brings us to issue of education practice, which is addressed in the frame of the cultural-historical approach, to confront the emerging context of children’s learning in an increasingly digitized world.

This Research Topic is devoted to the cultural-historical paradigm, which has shown its effectiveness and explanatory power in understanding the problems of childhood. The ongoing changes associated with global processes, such as digitization, coupled with the increasing social significance of early childhood education, and the emergence of new research models and projects, pose a challenge to modern research groups focused on the cultural-historical approach to child development.

Specific themes we would like to explore include( but are not limited to) the following:
-The analysis of the system of basic concepts of Vygotsky's theory, such as the “social situation of development”.
-The “zone of proximal development” and its application to preschool education in conditions of self-isolation.
-Online interaction
-“Experience”, “ideal form”, “natural and cultural" in child development.
-How the formation of new contexts of modern discourse in the understanding of childhood makes the cultural-historical paradigm a tool for the development of preschool education.

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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