About the Curriculum

Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood model combining teacher professional development with a comprehensive innovative curriculum that helps young children to develop the cognitive, social-emotional, self-regulatory, and foundational academic skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.

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In a Tools PreK classroom, a play theme unifies the room. The year begins with adaptable play themes close to children’s lives, and over the course of the year, as children’s levels of make-believe play, self-regulation and executive functions develop, the play themes develop as well. In a classroom in Maine, a lobster pound was a favorite center; in another classroom in Washington D.C., a convenience store with a ‘Redbox’ and an ATM machine was a favorite center. Teachers construct themes with children. Children help make the props and signs, and teachers read books to build children’s knowledge of what people do and say in different themed settings. Intentional make-believe play is the heart of a Tools of the Mind PreK classroom, but there’s lots more going on in a day! Children engage in activities designed to support the development of literacy, math and science skills at the same time as self-regulation and executive functions skills are developed. Most learning takes place in small groups and partnered activities, engaging children in interacting with one another to learn, build social relationships and create a positive classroom culture.

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