What Are Executive Functions?

And Why Are They So Important For Your Child?

As a parent, how important would you rate the following skills for your child?

Self-control

Self-discipline

Focus

Perseverance

Reasoning

Critical thinking

Creative thinking

Mental flexibility

Good organization, planning, prioritizing

and

Good judgement

Pretty important right? 

All of these important skills belong to a complex set of skills called executive functions and they are a direct indicator of your child’s future success in academics, employment, and life!

These skills define an intelligent, balanced, motivated person who is self-disciplined, innovative, and doesn’t give up.

What parent doesn’t want that child?

Research has shown that early development of executive functions is a better predictor of later academic performance than is early acquisition of academic skills. These capabilities are essential for ensuring rewarding life outcomes. Hughes, S. (2013)

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University defines executive function as the mental processes that support students in their ability to plan, focus their attention, remember instructions and juggle multiple tasks successfully (2016). Crucial for learning and development, these important skills also enable positive behavior and allow us to make healthy choices for ourselves and our loved ones.

Executive function skills are revered by colleges and CEOs as imperative for success, and targeted by leading edge companies when looking for leadership and innovative qualities.

The bad news is that children are not born with executive function skills.

The good news is that children are born with the potential to develop executive function skills and will develop them if provided the proper support. If, however, children do not get what they need from their relationships with adults and their environments at an early age, then their executive skill development can be seriously delayed or impaired.

The great news is that Montessori education is superior in fostering executive function!

One of the only curriculum models that has been empirically shown to improve executive function in children is the Montessori curriculum (Lillard & Else-Quest, 2006). In fact, the very essence of a successful Montessori classroom is characterized by the term “normalization,” which showcases the development of executive function in young children.

You Have to See It to Believe It

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Your child deserves the very best! Enrolling your child in an AMI Montessori school gives her the best opportunity to develop her executive functions and acquire the most important skills that she will need for a lifetime of success.

Come visit Sunstone Montessori, take a tour, see both a Children’s House and Elementary classroom in action, participate in a question and answer period, and learn about what we do. Give your child the gift that will last a lifetime. Give your child Sunstone Montessori!

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References:

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. (2016).

Diamond, A. (2014) Turning some ideas on their head. TEDxWestVancouverED. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StASHLru28s&app=desktop

Hughes, S. (2013) Montessori and Executive Function. http://www.montessoriservices.com/ideas-insights/the-importance-of-the-silence-game

Lillard, A., & Else-Quest, N. (2006) The early years: Evaluating Montessori education. Science, 313, 1893-1894.