Wednesday, May 7, 2014

President Obama Visits "Tools of the Mind" Classroom

 Our condolences to the family of  Mr. James Vallejo
On March 4, 2014 the founders of the early childhood program entitled TOOLS OF THE MIND were honored that the President of the United States decided to visit a Tools of the Mind Preschool classroom. The President participated in Message of the Day and stayed for Play Planning and Play Centers. Here you can see him getting a check up from a student during the Hospitial Theme. The classroom is located in Powell Elementary School,which was one of the first schools in Washington, DC to adopt the Tools of the Mind curriculum 4 years ago. 
President Obama in "Tools" Classroom
Regular readers will recall that TOOLS OF THE MIND was brought to the Hoboken Public School by former Early Childhood Director Jessica Peters, Superintendent Raslowsky and myself as part of my PreK-12 Curriculum Project for the Hoboken Public Schools. This award winning preschool program has been a part of the Hoboken Early Childhood (PreK-K) program since 2008. 

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Here is a quick primer on the attributes of a Tools of the Mind classroom, a Tools of the Mind teachers, and a Tools of the Mind student. 

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.

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.

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.