A growing body of research indicates that three foundational cognitive skills—executive function, motor skills, and spatial skills—form the basis for children to make a strong academic, behavioral, and social transition to formal school. Given inequitable early learning environments or “opportunity gaps” in the United States, these skills are also a source of substantial achievement and behavioral gaps.
Hands On, Minds On describes the importance of children’s foundational cognitive skills for academic achievement in literacy and mathematics, as well as their connections with other areas of school readiness, including physical health, social and emotional development, and approaches to learning. The author emphasizes how social relationships and interactions, both in and outside the classroom, encourage or constrain young children’s development in these skills. The book concludes with a summary of the growing evidence in favor of guided object play, which teachers can introduce to children to exercise and strengthen foundational cognitive skills.
“Teachers, both novice and veteran, are eager to learn how to apply brain research to their practice, and Dr. Cameron has offered some very real knowledge and support to this effort.”
—From the Foreword by Sharon Ritchie, FPG Child Development Institute
“Research has accelerated in the last decade, and Hands On, Minds On deftly summarizes and integrates these exciting advances. This is a must-read for educators and policymakers.”
—Daniel T. Willingham, University of Virginia
“Offers educators an entry point into what developmental research is telling us about early childhood and how best to support our youngest learners.”
—Nora S. Newcombe, Temple University