Further Discussion of Tools of the Mind

Blair and Raver’s Tools of the Mind findings were discussed today at NYU Steinhardt’s Education Policy Breakfast Series. Ajay Chaudry, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services; Steven Dow, Executive Director, CAP Tulsa Head Start; and Hiro Yoshikawa, NYU Professor emphasized the role of high-quality early educational experiences in giving low-income children a “fair shot” at later academic success. The series further discussed how early childhood education may be the “magic bullet” that closes the achievement gap.

Read the full study here.

Media Coverage for Tools of the Mind Study

The Neuroscience and Education Lab is proud to showcase the many media outlets that have picked up the Tools of the Mind study (published in PLOS ONE), spawning articles, interviews, and other coverage.

The Tools of the Mind technique trains teachers to promote structured play among kindergarteners, and the results of the study reveal that improvements in children’s skills in reading, vocabulary, and math last beyond kindergarten. The goal of the technique is encouraging children to practice cognitive skills that are essential for learning.

Here’s a selection of some of the coverage that has stemmed from our study.

Huffington Post

Science Daily
Yahoo News
Education Week


NYU NEL Researchers Publish Paper in PLOS ONE

Drs. Clancy Blair and Cybele Raver  published results from their evaluation of an innovative kindergarten curriculum, the Tools of the Mind program, in the journal PLOS ONE. Read more about the study here.

The research, a randomized controlled trial involving 759 children in 29 schools in 12 school districts in Massachusetts, compared the effects of the Tools of the Mind program with typical kindergarten curricula on children’s educational and executive functions outcomes. Tools of the Mind embeds practice on executive functions into classroom routines, activities in literacy, math, and science aligned with the Common Core, and uses socio-dramatic play as a vehicle to build executive function skills.

When compared with children in Control classrooms, the study found that children in Tools of the Mind were better at focusing attention in the face of distractions and had better working memory; core aspects of executive functions, the neurological basis of self-regulation. These differences were even more pronounced in high poverty schools. Furthermore, these gains were associated with gains in achievement that carried into first grade, where students from Tools of the Mind classrooms achieved in reading and vocabulary at a faster rate than children from Control classrooms.

See the NYU press release here.

NYU To Support Pre-K For All in NYC

New York University’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC) is partnering with the New York City Department of Education and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity to provide educators with the tools they need to monitor and support the quality of universal pre-K programs.

In September, New York City launched an ambitious expansion of pre-K, with 51,500 children registered to attend full-day pre-K programs, more than double the 20,000 children who attended last year. This milestone was the first stage of a two-year effort to bring full-day pre-K to all eligible 4-year-olds.

Prior research in other cities has demonstrated the benefits of large-scale public pre-K programs for children, including gains in language, reading, and math. However, education leaders need the tools to support the effectiveness of their programs. Given the rapid expansion of pre-K in New York City, the data architecture – or means of gathering data, analyzing it, and linking it with existing information – for these programs is still being built.

To read the rest of this press release, click here.