What is self control? Self-control is the restraint of one's emotions, desires, or inclinations. Many people and parents believe children just learn self control on their own and will eventually grow out of their bad behaviors and everything else. The truth though is whatever the teachers are teaching them in a regular school is not helping them with self control at all. Well on the other hand, self control can be taught to young children to fix bad behaviors and low test scores. The big question though is can self control really be taught to children at an early age? Studies and programs have proven this to be completely possible and effective. Self control can be taught to children through a variety of programs by helping them to develop cognitive skills and using their "mental tools" and just by simple play. One of the biggest and fast spreading programs to teach self control to preschoolers and kindergartners is the “Tools of the Mind Program”. The concept of program all started with a psychologist named Lev Vygotsky. “He believed that just as physical tools extend our physical abilities, mental tools extend our mental abilities to enable us to solve problems and create solutions in the modern world” (Metropolitan State of Denver). The Tools of the Mind curriculum actually began in 1993 at Metropolitan State College of Denver. The developers of the program, Dr. Elena Bodrova and Dr. Deborah Leong began working together in early childhood classrooms to improve children’s ability to learn and to teach educators new techniques for working with children. They wanted to expand Vygotsky experiment because they knew it would have huge success rates and could actually teach children self control. So they created the “Tools of the Mind” program. The Tools of the Mind project aims to encourage the cognitive development of young children by helping them “master a set of mental tools” (Denver). It is a key program to teaching children self control of their knowledge and behavior. Many schools are using the programs and have had great results and success from their studies. “Currently the Tools of the Mind program is being applied in Colorado, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington and is still spreading. There are currently 15,000 pre-k classrooms implementing Tools of the Mind program and 3,000 in the kindergarten program for a total of 18,000 classrooms” (Denver). The program uses many different activities and teaching styles to help children learn self control and it actually works! So what do they actually do in the program that can teach your child self control? The main focus and activity is to have the children interact with each other and just imaginary play. The Children practice self-regulated learning throughout the day by engaging in a variety of specifically designed developmentally self-regulation activities. By doing these activities, Children learn to “regulate their own behaviors as well as the behaviors of their friends as they enact increasingly more complex scenarios in their imaginary play in preschool and in learning activities in kindergarten” (Denver). One of the activities the program has the children do is “make individual play plans” (NutureShock). What the children do is that they have to draw pictures of the themselves in their chosen role is whatever kind of imaginary play they are doing that week and then they write it out in a sentence. They use a “sound map” (NutureShock) instead of the alphabet to figure out what they want to write. A sound map is a visual representation of the letter and their sounds. This helps the kids learn how to spell which supports their make believe play. Another great concept they use is “Buddy Reading”. It is where two children face each other and one has a large pair of paper lips while the other has a large ear. The child with the lips looks at a book and “tells”...
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