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Category: Resources for Educators

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Pretend Play – How To Get Kids to Focus Using Superheroes

For young children, pretend play is so much more important than just having fun. In a study by Dr. Stephanie M. Carlson, University of Minnesota Professor and Reflection Sciences CEO and Co-founder, and U of MN alums Dr. Rachel White, Dr. Emily Prager, and Catherine Schaefer, children who pretend to be their strong-minded hero are…

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Executive Function Issues: OCD

When children suffer from executive function issues, it can contribute to separate, but related, disorders. Children who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often struggle with executive function (EF), such as the ability to shift their attention to a new idea once they get stuck in a repetitive cycle. A child with OCD won’t necessarily experience every…

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Minnesota Executive Function Scale + Outcome Measure for Montessori Education

By Stephanie M. Carlson, PhD and Philip David Zelazo, PhD The notion of reflection is rooted throughout Montessori methods. The environment and pedagogy are designed to cultivate children’s awareness of their work and self-motivated learning. Reflection is also the key to developing life skills known as “executive function.” Educators and employers are increasingly hearing about…

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Be a Better Mentor with Executive Function

Joseph Angaran, national Check & Connect trainer at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota, explains the power of ‘pausing’ to enhance executive function and be a better mentor. Reflection, which refers to the ability to “notice challenges, pause, consider options, and put things into context prior to responding”, supports healthy academic,…

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Executive Function and Autism

When children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), they process information much differently from typically developing children. These kids tend to notice the details of a situation but have trouble organizing and retrieving them later on. Problems with executive function in autism are common, and they can affect certain cognitive abilities. Children with autism may…

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How to Improve Early Childhood Education: Help Teachers De-Stress

A new report out this month: 46% of teachers say they feel high daily stress. Roughly 50% agree that “stress and disappointments involved in teaching at this school aren’t really worth it.” What helps? Mindfulness. Patricia Jennings, Associate Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, mindfulness practitioner of more…

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Self Regulation in Children: Improving Executive Function

The Harvard Graduate School of Education members Stephanie M. Jones, Rebecca Bailey, Sophie P. Barnes, and Ann Partee released a project report highlighting how to define executive function, a skillset for self regulation in children. They also describe national efforts to support executive function, featuring Tools of the Mind, Lumosity, the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, the KIPP…

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Advantages of Early Childhood Education

According to recent research by Professor and Nobel-winning economist James Heckman, there are huge advantages of Early Childhood Education. High-quality early childhood development programs can deliver an annual return of 13% per child on upfront costs through better outcomes in education, health, employment and social behavior. “Investing in the continuum of learning from birth to…

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Noticing Signs of Executive Function Difficulties in the Classroom

Teachers know there’s more to their job than following the curriculum and hoping students follow along — they need to be able to identify when a student is struggling, such as with executive function difficulties, and do everything they can to help them improve. In every classroom there are students who show loads of potential,…