We provide research-based resources and professional development to educators, education leaders, enrichment specialists, and organizations dedicated to the education of all young children.
With many years of expertise in child development, teacher education, STEM, inquiry, project based learning, and supporting diverse learners, we work with you to create teaching that is achievable, sustainable, and transformative.
Alissa A. Lange
Dr. Lange has been providing high-quality, early childhood educational tools through Learning Tools LLC since 2009. Currently an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at East Tennessee State University. She has been Principal Investigator on numerous research studies in early childhood education, early childhood family engagement programs, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for dual language learners (DLLs). She is involved in STEM professional development for early childhood teachers, has published in a variety of outlets, and presents her work at conferences throughout the country.
Dr. Irena Nayfeld is an educator, a researcher, and an Early Childhood and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expert. With over 12 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and developmental scientist, her work focuses on the intersection of research and practice. Specifically, she specializes in developing and enacting inquiry- and project-based learning strategies in schools and community agencies serving culturally and linguistically diverse families, and families from under-resourced backgrounds. She is passionate about bridging research and education to foster critical thinking, curiosity, and a love for learning.
Dr. Nayfeld has taught at the preschool and elementary school levels, and received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Miami. There, she led projects to evaluate and improve STEM programs, conduct professional development, and assess impacts on teaching practice and students’ school readiness.
As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, she worked closely with educators around the country to develop, assess, and scaffold core teaching competencies of pre-service teacher candidates. Currently, Dr. Nayfeld is a research associate at New York University, where she designs and implements a language development program for parents of young children from diverse backgrounds. She is also a researcher and early childhood STEM specialist on an NSF-funded research project to develop a professional development model for preschool STEM for teachers working with dual language learners.
Hagit Mano is a biologist, an educator, coach and an Early Childhood and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expert with over twenty years of experience teaching science and engineering to diverse populations of young children and training professionals. She has extensive expertise in developing curricula for elementary school classrooms, afterschool enrichment programs, and museums.
Ms. Mano holds a Masters in Biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rechovot, Israel and a Masters in Early Childhood Studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She combines her science background with her passion for fostering high-quality learning by developing STEM programs and working with educators to create rich learning opportunities for young scientists-in-training. Previously, Ms. Mano served as the Associate Director of an afterschool science and engineering program, and the Education Director of Havayeda Children’s Science Museum. She went on to become the founder of Highland Park Children’s Enrichment Center, an inquiry-based, hands-on, interdisciplinary science enrichment program for elementary aged children. Formerly at the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) Rutgers University, Ms. Mano is now at East Tennessee State University as a STEM expert and teacher coach on a National Science Foundation- funded study to develop math and science professional development materials for preschool teachers who teach Dual Language Learners (DLLs).