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SmartStart Toolbox 1

Toolbox 1 Program
is a set of
family-based activities for children
ages 3 to 5

SmartStart Program:
Helping Your Internationally Adopted Child
Develop a Foundation for Learning.
Ages 3 to 8.

Author Dr. Carol S. Lidz, Contributor Dr. Boris Gindis

Are you aware of what types of activities can provide a foundation for your child's learning and development?

Would you like guidelines about what and how to teach your internationally adopted child?

Are you seeking ways to enhance and enrich your child's development?

Do you need ideas for fun and educational activities to do jointly with your child to enhance emotional attachment?

SmartStart Toolbox 2

Toolbox 2 Program
is a set of
family-based activities for children
ages 5 to 8

Goals and theoretical background of the SmartStart program

The primary goals of the Smart Start program are to help children to become self-regulated learners, to develop a planful, strategic approach to complex and novel situations, and to become effective symbol manipulators. To call these goals cognitive is not to ignore or downplay the importance of emotions. Emotion remains an important ingredient of good teaching and learning. There is a need for children to develop emotionally and socially, as well as cognitively. If development of higher levels of thinking takes place within relationships, it is best for these relationships to be positive, supportive, and enjoyable.

The SmartStart program relies on many sources. The main ideas derive from the work of two twentieth century psychologists: Vygotsky from Russia and Feuerstein from Israel. The ideas are also based on many research studies that relate parenting practices to successful scholastic achievement.

As educators and psychologists we have learned that love is indeed not enough to promote optimal development in children. Research and observations of what good teachers and parents do has taught us a lot about how to promote thinking, learning, and literacy in children. One of these lessons is that neither schools nor homes can or should bear the entire responsibility for children's development. Both home and school need to work together with shared goals and values in order for children to gain the most from these socializing experiences.

Who, why, and when can benefit from the SmartStart program

The SmartStart program was created with the basic needs and typical problems of the internationally adopted children in mind. Though it will be appropriate for any preschool and early elementary school age child, the parents, school and agency professionals, working with the internationally adopted children will find it most beneficial. The SmartStart program will be a good source of ideas and guidelines for what children need to learn and what needs to develop within them. Many of the activities that parents and teachers already do fit comfortably within the outlines of the SmartStart program. To make the program even more focused, we offer it in 3 varieties, based on child's age, emotional maturity and the level of English language acquisition. These factors are unique for each child, so there are no strict dividing lines between our courses, and all 3 follow the same plan and have the same number of units. Generally Toolbox 1 is for parents of the younger children with only emerging English; Toolbox 2 is for the parents of older and more linguistically advanced children. The 3d online class, which is meant for the school and agency professionals, working with children of different ages, makes an emphasizes on the theoretical background that would help caregiver to better understand when and how to use the activities we recommend.

The program can be taken at any time, but again, it is especially beneficial, if implemented in the very early stages of the child's adjustment to a new life and continued over months and sometimes years of cognitive remediation.

Unit 1. Introduction to the SmartStart Toolbox I

*Understand major remedial issues of internationally adopted post-institutionalized preschool and school age children and how the SmartStart program can help address them
*Understand the background and objectives of the SmartStart program
*Understand what is the Mediated Learning Experience and how the SmartStart program utilizes it.
of each unit
of the
SmartStart program

Unit 2: Noticing Our World

*Use our senses to experience the environment
*Develop a vocabulary to share our experiences
*Learn how to look and what to notice
*Detect the special features of what we experience
*Detect and produce patterns
*Detect and produce sequences
*Make groups based on a shared characteristic

Unit 3. Let's make a plan

*Learn to systematically explore and organize
*Think ahead about a goal
*Plan steps to reach the goal
*Determine if there is a necessary sequence
*Think about effective strategies
*Carry out the plan
*Evaluate how the plan worked
*Make changes to improve the plan

Unit 4. That's fantastic!

*Differentiate between real and imagined
*Appreciate the importance of imagination and fantasy
*Develop hypothetical thinking
*Think of alternatives
*Make predictions

Unit 5. The Nimble Symbol

*Recognize the existence of symbols
*Develop the ability to create symbols
*Develop the ability to use symbols
*Develop positive attitude and readiness for literacy

Unit 6. What's the Big Idea?

*Get the main idea from listening
*Learn to appreciate, apply, and make up rules
*Abstract general principles

Unit 7. Who is in Charge?

*Learn to control movements
*Learn to control attention
*Learn to control feelings

Unit 8. Making Connections: Understanding the past - facilitating the future

*Build awareness of new culture and new family
*Develop cause and effect relationships
*Become aware of inter-relationships within families


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