Friday November 9, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- The Early Learning Center Preschool Staff at the Winston Prouty Center for Child Development have begun training in Tools of the Mind, a research and play-based curriculum. They were joined in this training by local collaborators Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Early Essential Education and Putney Preschool. Prouty’s two preschool classrooms are gradually implementing the curriculum, which is designed as a two-year process.

The Tools of the Mind curriculum, created in 1993, focuses on cultivating the self-regulation skills of young children. These skills (often called executive function) regulate certain cognitive processes, such as planning, working memory and problem solving. Research has shown that these skills can help children in their later academic careers. The curriculum is based on the educational philosophies of Lev Vygotsky, an early 20th century Russian physiologist who studied how children’s play relates to their social and cognitive development. The 40 activities are designed to help children learn to make deliberate choices (rather than acting on impulse) and use multiple strategies to solve problems. More than 450 preschool and kindergarten classrooms in at least six states currently use the Tools curriculum.

Tools of the Mind reflects several facets of the Early Learning Center’s philosophy, including a focus on social-emotional competence using play-based activities, and peer-to-peer support. Scaffolding, the practice of building on a child’s individual skill level and development, is also an important part of both the ELC philosophy and the Tools curriculum.

Since 1969, the Winston Prouty Center for Child Development has provided inclusive education and family support to promote the success of children and families. For more information, visit www.winstonprouty.org.