Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Educational Effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum

The following peer reviewed journal article was recently published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly (Barnett et al. 2008). Tools of the Mind is currently being implemented in the Abbott pre-K program and will be extended to the district Kindergarten classes starting in September as part of the new revised curriculum and instruction program. Currently the Tools of the Mind program is being implemented in Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington (see Picture).-Dr. Petrosino

The effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum in improving the education of
3- and 4-year-old childrenwas evaluated by means of a randomized trial. The Tools curriculum,
based on the work of Vygotsky, focuses on the development of self-regulation at the
same time as teaching literacy and mathematics skills in a way that is sociallymediated by
peers and teachers and with a focus on play. The control group experienced an established
district-created model described as a “balanced literacy curriculum with themes.” Teachers
and students were randomly assigned to either treatment or control classrooms. Children
(88 Tools and 122 control) were compared on social behavior, language, and literacy growth.
The Tools curriculum was found to improve classroom quality and children’s executive function
as indicated by lower scores on a problem behavior scale. There were indications that
Tools also improved children’s language development, but these effects were smaller and
did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance in multi-level models or after
adjustments for multiple comparisons. Our findings indicate that a developmentally appropriate
curriculum with a strong emphasis on play can enhance learning and development
so as to improve both the social and academic success of young children. Moreover, it is
suggested that to the extent child care commonly increases behavior problems this outcome
may be reversed through the use of more appropriate curricula that actually enhance

More Information: The Tools of the Mind program has been used in both full- or half-day programs in Head Start programs, public schools, and childcare centers. Tools classrooms are found in a variety of school settings from high-poverty schools in urban or rural areas to suburban areas that serve primarily middle-class children

In order to provide a seamless transition to elementary school, the ideal experience for students (especially those that are considered “at risk”) is to attend both a Tools preschool and kindergarten program. Although the Tools kindergarten program provides a seamless transition for children who attended a Tools preschool program, those children who have not been in a Tools preschool program have adjusted to the program easily and excel with the rest of their peers.


Anonymous said...

I would like to know how to find a Tools of the Mind preschool in my area. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in the Tools of the Mind program for my 5 year old son, we live in Massachusetts which is one of the states that has been listed as having schools that participate in this program, but I can't find a school that does. If possible can you send me a link or a list of schools in MA that participate in the Tools of the Mind program??

Thanks Elizabeth Schlesinger