Research has revealed that strong cognitive and executive function skills help children excel in school, creating a strong foundation for these skills early will help your child succeed in school from the start. This can ultimately lay the foundation for positive feelings about school and even foster an early love of learning.
Think about cognitive skills, executive function skills, and the output as a tree. Where the cognitive skills are the roots of the tree, the executive function skills (also known as the mental processes), the branches, and the output; the leaves. Without the proper foundation or roots, the branches will not grow, and the leaves will definitely not sprout.
They are the specific skills our brains use to process stimuli. Cognitive skills include attention, memory, perception, processing, processing speed, logic, and reasoning. No single skill is responsible for cognition. Learning takes place because of multiple cognitive skills— attention, memory, perception, processing, processing speed, logic, and reasoning.
We use cognitive skills to learn, read, think, remember, reason, and focus attention. We apply cognitive skills in circumstances surrounding academic tasks. This includes reading, writing, and learning at school. During certain tasks, multiple cognitive skills are executed at once.
Executive function skills are “high order thinking patterns” that we
all use to successfully navigate the world we live in.
Children who acquire strong executive function skills become successful students who, for example, consistently complete their assignments on time, remember what they’re taught in class, participate actively in the classroom, filter outside distractions to stay on task, develop stronger relationships with their teachers and maintain self-control, even in the face of temptations.
Conversely, children with weaker executive function skills may struggle in a school setting.
We use executive function skills every day to do things like plan our
time, focus our attention, hold information in our minds and juggle priorities.
As adults, we often take these skills for granted, but children must develop
these skills, starting at infancy and continuing into their late teens and
What are the outputs your child is going to experience?