Nearly two decades later, the Tools of the Mind curriculum is receiving national recognition for advancing early childhood education. The curriculum has been introduced in twelve states and in the District of Columbia. With support from Chambers Family Fund, Tools of the Mind will soon become an independent nonprofit organization able to expand to additional classrooms around the country.
At Metro State, Drs. Bodrova and Leong worked together in early childhood classrooms with the goal of improving a child’s ability to learn. Their research was based on an understanding that purposefully teaching children the tools of self-regulation, rather than relying solely on the physical environment, would positively impact the child’s level of preparedness and ability to learn.
Their early work is now supported by a growing body of research that shows the reason many children start school unprepared for learning is not because of unfamiliarity with the alphabet, but instead has to do with their inability to regulate their social, emotional and cognitive behaviors. Self-regulation includes the ability to pay attention, remember on purpose, plan one’s actions, reflect on one’s thinking, and cooperate and act empathetically toward peers. It has a stronger association with academic achievement than IQ or entry-level reading or math skills.
Tools of the Mind is designed as a core curriculum that works for all children including those with identified special needs. The curriculum’s expense is primarily to support the training required for the teachers, but otherwise requires little more capital than traditional preschool and kindergarten curriculums. For a specific example of how the curriculum incorporates self-regulation into traditional subject matter, visit the Tools of the Mind website.
Currently, Tools of the Mind is designed to be implemented in both full- and half-day preschool programs, and has been introduced in more than 3,000 kindergarten classrooms. In addition to Washington D.C., the curriculum is at select schools in Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
With its focus on the earliest and most productive years of learning for our children, Tools of the Mind is the embodiment of an upstream solution. Chambers Family Fund is pleased to partner with the organization and help foster continued growth and increased impact on early childhood education in Colorado and around the country.
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