What is Thinking Friends®?
Thinking Friends® are eight animal characters, living life on a farm, with each animal having the personality, respectively, of a single fundamental thinking/cognitive skill (sequencing, defining, describing, cause and effect, comparing/contrasting, classifying, examining parts of objects/spatial reasoning, and using analogies) and style. As parents and teachers engage children with the Thinking Friends®, the children learn to identify, think about and skillfully apply their own thinking (metacognition) in all aspects of their lives.

Why should young children be introduced to Thinking Friends®?
Thinking Friends® is an approach to Early Childhood education for developing fundamental cognitive skills linked to early reading, meaning-making, and inquiry processes. Access to high quality early childhood programs, including pre-school programs has become an educational, if not a national imperative. We created the Thinking Friends® to help developing young children become more purposeful, skillful, and mindful thinkers.

How do I engage young children with Thinking Friends®?
There are 8 stories (currently available in Spanish and English) that introduce each of the major animal characters as s/he interacts with Farmer Framer and 3 stories in which the animal characters and Farmer Framer interact as a group.

  • First, young children are introduced to each of the characters and its individual cognitive strength.
  • As the children become more familiar with the characters and fluent with their individual cognitive styles, the stories become more complex.
  • The “thinking friends” begin to think and work together to improve and expand their own thinking, content learning, problem solving and social-emotional approaches to building relationships.
  • Along with the characters, the children learn to appreciate the complexity of ideas, the different perspectives that can be taken, and the value of working cooperatively.

Using Thinking Friends, parents, alongside early childhood teachers, can naturally build upon, strengthen and extend their children’s innate cognitive skills throughout all aspects of their lives.

Who are the Thinking Friends®?
Farmer Framer Framer—His cognitive/thinking contribution to the stories is always reflective (or metacognitive) and thinking about the big picture. He FRAMES problems and examines PERSPECTIVE TAKING. Farmer Framer surveys the perimeter of the barnyard “framing” the topic/issue/problem under consideration in a story or script. He helps the Thinking Friends to identify how they know what they know, to surface the factors that influence their ideas, and to formulate conclusions and insights from their experiences.

Snakey Sequencer— His cognitive/thinking strength is SEQUENCING. Snakey puts things in order and focuses on the sequencing of ideas, things, numbers, alphabet, and events.

Doggie Definer— His cognitive/thinking strength is DEFINING and UNDERSTANDING CONTEXT. Doggie focuses on defining and understanding a given situation or context. He brainstorms everything he knows about a concept or the questions that he would like to find the answers to about it.

Chicky Comparer— Her cognitive/thinking strength is COMPARING AND CONTRASTING the similarities and differences between different people, animals, places and things.

Cowsie Cows N Effect— Her cognitive/thinking strength is EXAMINING CAUSE AND EFFECT. She examines the causes and effects of actions and events.

Donkey Describer— His cognitive/thinking strength is DESCRIBING. He uses adjectives and 5 senses to describe the attributes and qualities of people, places and things.

Kitty Categories— Her cognitive/thinking strength is CATEGORIZING. She categorizes or groups together ideas, things, events, experiences, and animals.

Pony Parter— Her cognitive/thinking strength is examining PARTS OF WHOLE OBJECTS and considering how objects fit in space.

Rooster Relationships— His cognitive/thinking strength is examining ANALOGIES or seeing relationships between and among ideas and things—that is, he helps to identify the “relationship” that connects different ideas to each other thereby expanding the meaning of those ideas.




Thinking Friends®