A Tools Classroom
• combines activities specifically designed to promote self-regulation with activities that focus on academic skills, while also giving children the opportunity to practice self-regulation/executive function skills;
• ensures children meet state and national standards by emphasizing research-based activity content;
• promotes mature play—make-believe in preschool to dramatization in kindergarten—which is the most beneficial context for young children to develop self-regulation, cognitive, and social-emotional skills.
A Tools Teacher
• systematically scaffolds the development of students’ self-regulation, from being “regulated by others” to engaging in "shared regulation” to becoming "masters of their own behavior";
• teaches early literacy and mathematics, with an emphasis on building underlying cognitive competencies, such as reflective thinking and metacognition.
A Tools Student
• gains control of their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors by learning how to use a variety of mental tools;
• practices self-regulated learning throughout the day by engaging in a variety of specifically designed, developmentally appropriate self-regulation activities;
• learns to regulate their own behaviors, as well as the behaviors of their friends, as they enact increasingly more complex scenarios in their imaginary play in preschool and in learning activities in kindergarten.
At Tools, we often hear from parents, teachers, and school administrators about how well children in the Tools preschool and kindergarten programs are doing. Districts implementing Tools show fewer reports of student disruptive behavior, higher levels of parent satisfaction, and fewer discipline problems. Teachers report less aggression and fighting, and more positive social interactions.
Dana Hice DePugh, Supervisor of Special Education
"I can’t begin to explain the positive impact this curriculum has had on our students, at both the preschool and kindergarten level. …Students who entered the program with very little ability to focus and self-regulate are now able to participate in dramatic play activities for extended periods of time. Some of our three-year-old students who previously had extensive developmental delays are writing their names, creating play plans, and even demonstrating phonemic awareness through the use of the sound map. …Tools has influenced the lives of our early childhood students in a very constructive way with regard to academic, readiness, social and emotional, and adaptive skills.”
“I am writing this letter in support of the curriculum Tools of the Mind, that is currently implemented at my child’s Head Start center. I have had all three of my children progress through the Head Start program and have been very happy with the results of all three children. I can tell you, though, that there was a vast difference in kindergarten readiness between my oldest son, Hagen, who did not have Tools of the Mind at his Head Start, compared to the level of readiness that we encountered with my oldest daughter, Isabella, that did have the benefit of the Tools of the Mind curriculum. Our daughter Isabella was not only ready for kindergarten, but her academic skills surpassed those of her peers, thus resulting in Isabella being defined as gifted and talented. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the success of all my children, but I do find that the enriched learning experience that Isabella received as a result of Tools of the Mind curriculum immensely aided in Isabella achieving her kindergarten goals. I currently have my youngest daughter, Birdie, in the Head Start program. She is receiving the benefit of the Tools of the Mind curriculum and because of this, I have high hopes regarding her future academic endeavors. I consider it a blessing in my children’s lives that they are able to partake in such a fantastic and academically enriching curriculum and I hope that future generations of Head Start children will have the same opportunity as my children did. All children deserve the best opportunity possible to excel in both their academic careers and for their own self-worth, and it is my strong belief that Tools of the Mind gives each child that advantage.”