Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Executive Function

We are always eager to discover more about how our very young children learn and develop and so were intrigued to find out about 'Executive Function'.

Have to admit this doesn't sound very child orientated; sounds more like something to do with big corporate business! But it is a term that is used to describe a set of skills that underlie the capacity to plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control, follow instructions even when interrupted and the ability to stay focused.

This leads into children's ability to sit still, spend extended amounts of times at activities, remember routines and follow rules. If these skills are missing it can mean children will 'flit' from one activity to another and struggle to express their feelings appropriately.

These skills develop when children are aged between 3 and 5 years, and are followed by another spike during their adolescent years. Providing the right environment will encourage and strengthen these skills which will help children as they progress throughout their school life, taking exams and moving into adulthood.

And the great thing is that these skills can be enhanced and encouraged through a child's natural play. Lots of imaginary play and story telling help children to plan, play co-operatively and pay attention. Action songs and games can stimulate a child's ability to recall through repeated refrains. Mixing movement and singing can be complex by matching rhythm, words and actions which helps with focus, attention, memory and persistence. Quiet games can help with memory recall, following rules and multi-stepped instructions.

As carer's and parents we do all of this all of the time but understanding the effect that we can have on young children by the actions we take is astounding.

Click here for more information.

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