To believe that a child is an empty vessel would mean assuming that children are unable to think or respond to the world around them. The term ’empty vessel’ suggests that babies’ minds contain nothing and that helping them to develop means simply filling the space with facts. Theorists and scientists have spent many years researching and developing ideas that suggest that even an unborn child is capable of developing sensitivity towards its environment, and therefore that human development begins long before the outside world has impressed its influence on a child (Muir & Slater 2000, pg.68). However, this essay will explore the theories of how children learn and develop from birth, with emphasis placed on the constructivist learning theory in relation to the development of children from infancy, and to the teaching and learning of scientific concepts.Mukherji & Odea, (2000, pg.80) describe how, soon after birth, babies begin ‘trying to make sense of the world around them’. They are able to identify sounds, in particular voices, and then subsequently begin to interpret images and the responses of adults. Their ability to ‘read’ facial expressions develops (Louw, 2002, pg.208) and they use this knowledge to modify their behavior. This development begins the pattern of constructivist learning that theorists have researched and discussed for many years.