• Tools of the Mind Curriculum

    A Glimpse of Three- and Four-Year-Olds
         Your child’s day in preschool is a busy one.  Though they may answer, “Nothing”, or“ I don’t know” when you ask them what they did, rest assured they were engaged and participating in many activities designed to foster their physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development.  You can always ask some strategic questions to spark more discussion. We suggest asking specific questions like, “Do you remember any of your new friends’ names?”  “Did your teacher read a book today?”  What center did you play in?”  As the year goes on, you’ll start to see your child’s memory and oral language skills developing, and you’ll also have the tools to be able to guide the discussion, for instance, knowing your child’s classmates’ names, the classroom theme, and having work samples to prompt memory and discussion. This is a great way to start helping your child to remember on purpose.  A young child’s memory is much smaller than ours, as adults, so they need extra support to help them remember deliberately. 
     Play Plans

    Your child will be making a play plan before he or she goes to centers to play.  The play plan will have an area in which to draw a picture, a place for the child to write his/her name, and space at the bottom for Scaffolded Writing. At the beginning of the year, the teacher will write the message, but your child will be writing his or her own message as the year goes on. 

    Children use different colors to make their plans. These colors represent a specific center.  Your child’s teacher may have already shared his or her system with you.  If not, ask about the colors of the centers. 

    The play plans will be sent home at the end of the week.  This is a great opportunity for you to talk with your children about what they learned/did by asking them to “read” the plan to you. For the three-year-old this often means remembering what he/she did using the color of the drawing as a clue.   If your child’s classroom uses brown for the Block Center, which is the “garage” because the theme for this month is “Family,’ then you can say things like “Did you go to the Block Center because your drawing is in brown?” or “I see here it says “I am going to play store,” as you point to the words the teacher may have written.  If your child does not remember his/her specific plan, this is okay; there are MANY enjoyable things to do at each center. Prompting memory is important in building underlying cognitive skills that are a part of self-regulation.