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.
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.