Tools of the Mind curriculum for
preschool age children is a comprehensive curriculum that presents content in
an integrated, developmental way so that instruction forms a coherent
whole. Instructional strategies used in Tools are a
combination of child-initiated activities, teacher scaffolding and explicit
instruction, individualization through multiple levels of scaffolding and
on-going use of assessment data to tailor interactions to meet individual
needs. Progress is monitored daily, weekly, and monthly.
is a primary result of the use of this curriculum, helping children prepare to
be successful in kindergarten. Current research shows that
self-regulation (both cognitive and social-emotional) has a stronger
association with school readiness than IQ or entry-level reading or math
skills. Good self-regulation includes the ability to stay on task, ignore
distractions, and hold two strategies in mind at the same time, as well as the
development of self-discipline and the motivation to succeed. Aspects of
self-regulation such as ability to pay attention, remember on purpose, plan
one’s actions, reflect on one’s thinking, and cooperate and act empathetically
toward peers, heavily influence a child’s future success in school.
central focus of Tools of the Mind is the development of both
cognitive and social-emotional self-regulation at the same time that academic
skills are taught. In the Tools classroom:
in self-regulated learning is embedded into all activities.
use strategies to help children improve the quality of their dramatic
make-believe play so it fosters self-regulation development.
literacy and math activities are modified to include self-regulatory
instructional activities are designed to teach self-regulation and
management techniques maximize time-productive interactions and task
intentional make-believe play is the foundation of self-regulation
development. It creates conditions in which young children are able to
act in a more mature way and use mature mental functions. Children
remember more, attend better and have better self-regulation. This kind
of play is the only classroom experience that naturally provides three types of
interactions which lead to self-regulation: regulation by others,
regulation of others, and self-regulation. Without deliberate scaffolding
by teachers providing on going opportunities to engage in mature play, many young
children will not develop it on their own. In Tools of the Mind, there is
explicit design of literacy, mathematics, and science activities so that they
further promote the self-regulation developed in play.
intentional play has the following characteristics:
expressing and representing intention through play planning.
explicit roles and implicit rules.
an extended time frame.
extensive use of language.
imaginary pretend scenario.
are assessed daily through review of their play plans, observation, and through
the use of assessment tools that review a child’s level of ability in