Research & Correlations


Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher-facilitated discussions of art images and documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers and students. It is perhaps the simplest way in which teachers and schools can provide students with key behaviors sought by Common Core Standards: thinking skills that become habitual and transfer from lesson to lesson, oral and written language literacy, visual literacy, and collaborative interactions among peers.​


Essential Questions (EQ), by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins) help target standards as curriculum content is organized into coherent units that yield focused and thoughtful learning.
In the classroom, EQs are used to stimulate students' discussions and promote deeper understanding of content.
EQs provide practical guidance on designing, initiating, and embedding inquiry-based instruction into the classroom, and also address local or CCSS standards in  engaging ways.


Cozolino is the author of  Attachment-Based Teaching: Creating a Tribal Classroom; The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment & Learning in the Classroom.“The brain is a social organ.” The brain is a social organ, according to Cozolino, and humans historically learned and survived through cooperative engagement.  Adults who create positive, caring relationships with  children set the stage for them to  feel safe and willing to take the risks required of stretching and growing.  Cozolino, a leading neuropsychologist tells us: “In the classroom, secure attachment to teachers and other students optimizes the ability to learn. Teachers who focus first on creating authentic, respectful relationships with students have a head start in student success in all kinds of learning.” 

The KOW design ·  places the teacher at the center of the classroom community as a caring adult who values what children have to say.·  Creates a safe, community space as a predictably occurring classroom system.


Highly respected author, Ellen Galinsky, provides solid evidence for supporting children's well rounded growth towards realization of their full potential with identification of seven 

research-based life skills:

  1. Focus and self control

  2. Perspective taking 
  3. Communicating
  4. Making connections
  5. Critical thinking
  6. Taking on challenges
  7. Self-directed learning

Galinsky identifies the above life skills as essential, because each is necessary for taking on life's challenges, communicating well with others, and remaining open and committed to learning.​


Lilian Katz is Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she taught early childhood education for 30+ years. 

“Learning involves knowledge, skills, feelings and attitudes or dispositions. We often focus on knowledge and skills and  the cognitive domain and give little consideration to feelings and dispositions. The adults’ role is to support children towards positive learning dispositions and to help them become ‘mastery learners’.

In a 2010 article published by Community Playthings, Katz outlines what she believes to be the Standards of Experience for early childhood programs.  We include the standards that apply directly to Kids’ Own Wisdom:  

Young children should frequently have the following experiences: 

  • Being intellectually engaged, absorbed, and challenged.
  • Having confidence in their own intellectual powers and their own questions.
  • Being engaged in extended interactions (e.g. conversations, discussions, exchanges of views, arguments, planning).
  • Being involved in sustained investigations of aspects of their own environment worthy of their interest, knowledge, and understanding.
  • Taking initiative in a range of activities and accepting responsibility for what is accomplished.
  • Knowing the satisfaction that can come from overcoming obstacles and setbacks and solving problems.
  • Helping others to find out things and to understand them better.
  • Making suggestions to others and expressing appreciation of others’ efforts and accomplishments.
  • Feelings of belonging to a group of their peers. 


Teachers want students to take more responsibility for their own learning, yet they continue to dictate: 

√ What is taught   

√ Acceptable responses

√ How + when students will learn  

√ How students demonstrate what they've learned. 

How can students learn to take more responsibility unless we first relinquish some of the control?