Category: Resources for Educators

Cohort Effects on Delay of Gratification

The Marshmallow Test is conceivably one of the most prominent developmental research studies on delay of gratification. In the late 1960s to early 70s, American Psychologist and Stanford University Professor, Dr. Walter Mischel, and his team sat children down at a table and placed a marshmallow (or other treat chosen by the child) in front of…

Think Small Video Testimonial

Dianne Haulcy, Think Small‘s Senior Vice President for Family Engagement, talks briefly about Think Small’s experience with the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS) App. “We looked at several different tools and we landed on the MEFS for a couple different reasons: one, because it was very easy to administer, and two, because as we really…

National Effort: Improve Student Outcomes

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) are teaming up in a national effort: improve student outcomes through research and development. Yesterday (May 8, 2018), the two nonprofits announced that they are extending a public Request for Information (RFI) about innovative ways to facilitate, accelerate, and improve the academic and non-academic outcomes that…

Imagination and Brain Development

“Executive function refers to the brain skills that allow us to control our thoughts, actions, and emotions. These skills include cognitive flexibility (thinking about something in multiple ways and shifting gears, for example, transitioning smoothly from snack time to center time), working memory (holding information in mind and working with it, such as reminding yourself…

Mindfulness, Reflection, and Executive Function

Earlier this week, Frontiers in Psychology published an article on mindfulness, reflection, and executive function. The study, “Mindfulness Plus Reflection Training: Effects on Executive Function in Early Childhood” was conducted by Dr. Phil Zelazo, Dr. Ann Masten, and Dr. Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development and Jessie Forston of Learning Tree Yoga,…

Integrating Social and Emotional Development with Academic Learning

Integrating social, emotional, and academic development is crucial for schools targeting the success of the whole student, according to the Aspen Institute’s National Commission. In today’s world, a growing number of school systems are shifting focus from teaching ABC’s and 123’s to teaching their students to acquire and effectively apply complex social and emotional processes.…

Measuring Executive Function Gains in Formal and Informal Child Care

University of Minnesota education technology startup Reflection Sciences is collaborating with Harvard Graduate School of Education to identify what works for children in a range of learning environments. – Press Release – MINNEAPOLIS, MN (January 29, 2018) – Most US states have early education standards in core learning areas for literacy, math, science, and social…

Executive Function Skills & Math

Executive function skills are important for regulating behaviors, as well as academic success, including math achievement. This relation between executive function skills and math is not surprising when considering the cognitive skills involved in solving mathematical problems. For instance, if you ask 5-year-old Lola to figure out, “How many pets are three cats and four…

Executive Function Impairments in the Classroom

Executive function impairments in the classroom can manifest in a number of ways. Commonly, children who struggle with self-regulation will act out. Other low executive functioning students may go undetected — rather than causing trouble, they quietly struggle. How can we, as researchers, parents, clinicians, and educators, not only detect these students but also provide support?…

Part II: Executive Function Interventions

We know that executive function skills are important, but how can parents and teachers use executive function interventions such as reflection training, mindfulness, and scaffolding, to promote healthy development? In this second episode of Full Prefrontal,  Sucheta Kamath and Dr. Phil Zelazo discuss interventions ideas for parents, teachers, and caregivers to build successful members of society. Listen to the…