Cognitive Programs: BrightStart
Bright Start is an educational program designed to help young children acquire, elaborate, and apply fundamental thinking skills that are essential for learning the academic material of the primary grades. It also helps them to perceive the need for such strategies, to generate their own, and to know when and how to apply them to new learning and understanding. Developed for use in classrooms with preschool children (3-6 years, developmental age), the program is also widely used in clinics, therapeutic centers, and even at home with children who have special educational and developmental needs.
Benefiting from the theoretical positions of Vygotsky, Piaget, Feuerstein, Haywood, and Gibson, the program relies on a mediational style of teaching, is concentrated in 7 curriculum “units,” and includes a cognitive-mediational system of behavior management as well as a program of parent participation. It is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Finnish, Dutch/Flemish, and Hebrew, with Russian and Ukrainian editions in preparation and a Chinese edition under consideration.
The specific goals of Bright Start:
To enhance and accelerate the development of basic cognitive functions, especially those functions characteristic of the cognitive developmental stage of concrete operations.
To identify and remediate deficient cognitive functions.
To develop task-intrinsic motivation.
To develop representational thought.
To enhance learning effectiveness and readiness for school leaning.
The Bright Start program consists of seven cognitive units, each designed to address a fundamental aspect of the cognitive functioning of children.
Unit 1: Self-Regulation:
Children learn to bring their bodies under the control first of external stimuli and then of internal stimuli (or self control). Children then learn to use their self control in a social context.
Unit 2: Number Concepts:
Introduces basic number concepts – amounts, numbers, ordinal relations, conservation. Starting with one-to-one correspondence, children learn concepts that help them respond to events in a quantitative, organized way.
Unit 3: Comparison:
Introduces the concept that we can identify similarities and differences in a systematic way. Children learn to define and make comparisons based on such characteristics as size, shape, and color.
Unit 4: Role-Taking:
Develops the ability to take different perspectives, first on the physical, and then on the social, level. Children learn to consider other people’s feelings and view-points. This unit, like Self Regulation, is primarily social in nature.
Unit 5: Classification:
Develops the function of classifying across three dimensions – color, size, shape – and evolves into representational classification (classifying without pictures).
Unit 6: Sequence and Pattern:
Children learn to identify items within classes according to their serial position. The lessons focus on number and pattern progression and finding patterns in groups of stimuli.
Unit 7: Letter-Shape Concepts:
Children learn to identify and classify objects and events according to certain prominent characteristics, which will be crucial to the learning of the letters of the alphabet.