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Executive Functioning

What are Executive Functions?

According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, executive function skills are "the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Just as an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of many aircraft on multiple runways, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses."


Executive skills include (in order of emergence):


        Response Inhibition
        Working Memory
        Emotional Control
        Sustained Attention
        Task Initiation
        Planning/Organization
        Time Management
        Goal Directed Persistence
        Flexibility
        Metacognition
        
        




When children have opportunities to develop executive function and self-regulation skills, individuals and society experience lifelong benefits. 

These skills are crucial for learning and development. 
They also enable positive behavior and allow us to make healthy choices 
for ourselves and our families.

Executive function skills can be taught through 
supportive and engaging relationships we create with our children, 
the activities and experiences we expose them to, 
and the safe and stress free environments we create for them.

Children aren’t born with these skills—
they are born with the potential to develop them. 
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