TOTM is unique because of its focus on self-regulation.
In order to learn in elementary school and be successful students, children must develop the ability to self-regulate. Self-regulation encompasses not only emotions, physical behavior and social interactions, but includes the ability to monitor and control cognitive processes such as attention. It includes:
✦ The ability to stay on task ✦ Ignore distractions ✦ Remember on purpose
✦ Hold two strategies in mind at the same time
✦ The development of self-discipline ✦ The motivation to succeed
“Our philosophy is that teaching should be more than transmitting facts and skills; it should teach children about learning itself, giving them the mental tools that will enable them to learn on their own.”
In Tools, the focus on self- regulation is embedded into the Tools curriculum:
✦ Self-regulated learning is embedded into all activities.
✦ Teachers use mature intentional dramatic play as an activity to help children develop important underlying cognitive skills.
✦ Research-based literacy and math activities are modiﬁed to include self-regulatory components.
✦ Speciﬁc instructional activities are designed to teach self-regulation and reﬂective thinking.
✦ Classroom management techniques maximize productive interactions and task involvement.
Even though children may know many facts, without self-regulation they will not learn new things efﬁciently and will have trouble with more-advanced content.
How Tools is implemented
Tools is a core curriculum that works for all children including those with identiﬁed special needs and those who will be identiﬁed through RtI, Response to Intervention (IDEA reauthorization legislation).
Tools activities are multi-level so instruction is individualized within the design of each activity. Ability grouping is not used to individualize instruction.
Speciﬁc scaffolds for children with special needs as well as those who are non-English speakers (ELL) are written into each activity.
Specialized training is given to ensure that classroom teachers and special needs staff can work together in a coordinated manner.
Pacing guides are developed that ensure that instruction matches end-of-the-year district benchmarks and standards.
The good news!
Early childhood is a key period for acquiring self-regulation in all its forms. This is why in a Tools of the Mind Kindergarten, teachers work deliberately to help children develop self-regulation.
Children of Promise Preparatory Academy is nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and does not charge tuition. COPPA will admit any student in the state of California who wishes to attend.