Deborah Leong, PhD

Deborah Leong, PhD

Professor Emerita of Psychology, Metropolitan State College of Denver

Dr. Deborah J. Leong is professor emerita of Psychology and she taught developmental and educational psychology for 32 years at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She is Director of the Tools of the Mind Project. Dr. Leong developed the Tools of the Mind program with Dr. Elena Bodrova (Senior Researcher at McREL). Tools is a systemic intervention addressing multiple facets of self-regulation throughout the day and in varying contexts found in a typical preschool or kindergarten program. It combines targeted –focal – activities that promote self-regulation, such as scaffolding the development of mature make-believe play, and by embedding self-regulation promoting components to instruction designed to build foundational skills in literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional competence. The specific content and pedagogy implemented in Tools classrooms has been guided by general Vygotskian principles pertaining to the development of self-regulation-executive function explored and refined by Vygotsky, Luria, Zaporozhets, and Elkonin. There are approximately 30,000 children in Tools classrooms in preschools and kindergartens in 8 states. Tools was named an exemplary educational program by the International Bureau of Education at UNESCO, United Nations in 2001. Dr. Leong is also a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Drs. Leong and Bodrova have written numerous books, articles, and educational videos on the Vygotskian Approach to Psychology and the development of play. She has written several books on early childhood assessment with Drs Oralie McAfee and Elena Bodrova. Dr. Leong has her Ph.D. from Stanford University and her M.Ed. from Harvard University.

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