Executive Functioning Skills

This year, a select number of the Academic Support Classes are piloting a new curriculum and learning about Executive Functioning Skills.  This is a custom-designed set of lessons which was created by three of our District educators, Ginny Kemp, Linnea Hilchey, and Claudette Stone.  

Students will be introduced to the various Executive Functioning Skills and how each skill is important for independence and success throughout their lives.  Students will learn how to identify their strengths and needs, then will be taught various strategies to build up areas of weakness.

In tandem with the classroom lessons for the Academic Support group, the entire school population will be provided with brief, comical, but informative  introductions of the “EF Skill of the Week”.  These will be posted on the wall near the Media Center, with corresponding  links posted on the Behavior Specialist and Academic Support websites, for students, staff, and parents to further investigate.   We welcome your feedback throughout the year on this new endeavor. Please feel free to send us an email to let us now what is helpful and what more you need to make the lessons more meaningful and relevant.

What are Executive Functioning Skills?  

These skills guide and direct all of our actions and words. They are the “Air Traffic Control” of our lives.  The brain uses one or more of the many skills to decide on how to

  • respond, or, perhaps even better sometimes, not respond,

  • get started on a task, then finish that possibly boring task,

  • stay focused,  on a class lesson or your driving,

  • remember things,  even when you don’t think it’s important,

  • manage your time effectively, and get to work on time,

  • switch from one activity to the next,

  • plan and organize, maybe a party, maybe a project, and  then

  • self-reflect on and evaluate your performance.  

EF Skills begin to develop in toddlers, however, until pre-teen ages and beyond, most children rely on their parents to cue them for many of these important tasks, such as,

“It is time to shut off the tv and brush your teeth.”  

“If you want to go out, you first need to put on your coat.”  

“Do you have your soccer shoes?”

As they mature, it is expected that teenagers will become more independently able to manage themselves.  This is made possible because their EF Skills continue to grow, through late teens and early twenties for some.

For a brief and enlightening explanation of EF Skills, click here to watch a 5-minute video, titled InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning , put out by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.     

                A more thorough resource is the book Smart but Scattered by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. The authors provide detailed explanations and strategies for parents to utilize at home to help develop a younger child’s EF skills.

Click below for the "EF Skill of the Week"