The Preschool Team
Ms. Rachel Kline
Cambridge School is home to a program for the preschool child with a disability.“ Preschool child with a disability” means a child between the ages of three to five experiencing developmental delay, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, and who requires special education and related services.
For more information about the program, call Student Services
at the South Brunswick Board of Education
at (732) 297-7800.
In the Cambridge Preschool program, learning is viewed as an interactive process between the child and the environment.
The curriculum is developmentally based and focuses on the growth of the total child. The program is designed to strengthen all aspects of the child’s development, including communication skills, socialization skills,
and sensory-motor skills
which are integrated within a language context.
Units of Study include Home/Family, Grocery Store, Restaurant, and Doctor.
The South Brunswick Public Schools Preschool Program began using a new preschool curriculum model in September 2009. The curriculum is
TOOLS OF THE MIND. An overview of the curriculum was presented to parents on Thursday, October 22.
What makes TOOLS unique?
– Focus on self-regulation
Current research shows that self-regulation (both cognitive and social-emotional) has stronger association with school readiness than IQ or entry-level reading or math skills. Good self-regulation includes the ability to stay on task, ignore distractions, and hold two strategies in mind at the same time, as well as the development of self-discipline and the motivation to succeed. Aspects of self-regulation such as the ability to pay attention, remember on purpose, plan one’s actions, reflect on one’s thinking, and cooperate and act empathetically toward peers, heavily influence a child’s future success in school. Inadequate self-regulation is associated with discipline problems and poor social adjustment.
“A growing body of research indicates that a
lack of self-regulation may be the root cause
of many children’s lack of school readiness.”
You can find more information about the program on their website
Why is play central in a TOOLS classroom?
Mature intentional make-believe play is the foundation of self-regulation development. It creates conditions in which young children are able to act in a more mature way and use more mature mental functions. Children remember more, attend better and have better self-regulation. This kind of play is the only classroom experience that naturally provides the three types of interactions which lead to self-regulation: regulation by others, regulation of others, and self-regulation. Without deliberate scaffolding by teachers providing ongoing opportunities to engage in mature play, many young children will not develop it on their own.
In TOOLS OF THE MIND, there is explicit design of literacy, mathematics and science activities so that they further promote the self-regulation developed in play. This means that children act in a regulated way in a variety of instructional contexts in school, and have increased ability to be regulated in other settings as well.
“Play creates the zone of proximal development of the child. In play, the child is always behaving beyond his age, above his usual every day behavior; in play, he is, as it were, a head above himself. Play contains in a concentrated form, as in the focus of a magnifying glass, all developmental tendencies; it is as if the child tries to jump above his usual level.” - Lev Vygotsky
The TOOLS classroom is organized around intentional make-believe play. All of the centers, the room arrangement, the materials available for children – everything is designed to promote such play. The classroom is arranged with six centers: Dramatic Play, Literacy, Table Toys/Manipulatives, Science, Art/Fine Motor, Blocks
The Make-Believe Play Center Block is the centerpiece of the Tools preschool program, when the children engage in intentional make-believe play. During this time block, children plan their play, engage in play with each other, and clean up. Teachers scaffold play planning and play development, helping children to develop ever-higher levels of play with each other. This is where children gain the practice and experience to develop self-regulation and the important underlying skills they need to succeed in the future.
EXAMPLES OF Tools Pre-K Activities
In Graphics Practice, children develop the fine motor and self-regulation skills needed for writing. They draw on white boards with markers, stopping and starting in response to musical cues. Children use private speech to help them remember how and what to write, learning to inhibit while also remembering the shape they’re representing in writing.
In Buddy Reading, pairs of children “read” books to each other, using external mediator cards to remind them of their roles as they take turns
reading and listening. Buddy Reading is one of the tools of the Mind’s cooperative partner activities. These activities are designed to foster self-
regulation development and positive child-child interaction while also fostering the development of emergent literacy or numeracy skills.
In small groups, teachers help children plan and discuss various ways to incorporate a geometric shape into a drawing. Children use geometric
terms and positional vocabulary, brainstorming possibilities from multiple perspectives. Children each verbalize a plan for their drawing and
create a unique representation incorporating the geometric shape.
Children describe what they are going to do when they play and then represent their plan on paper in drawing and writing. Children work at their
own level, adding detail to their drawn plans, using lines to represent words in their written message, and using the Tools of the Mind Sound Map
to write letters representing the sounds in their words.
In Making collections, children work in a cooperative partnered mathematics activity taking turns counting and “checking” using one-to-correspondence.
one correspondence. Children use Vygotskian tactics such as private speech, external mediators and other regulation.
Preschool Parent Pages
Click here for:
General Guidelines for Preschool Parents
Recommended Book List
Fall Home School Connection
Winter Home School Connection
Books About Winter
Learning With Teddy Bears
Spring Family Notes
Spring Literature Connections
What is Wind?