Executive function skills are recognized as one of the key factors of success for 21st century citizens. ‘Executive functioning’ refers to the brain’s cognitive control centre and the human ability to self-regulate behaviour and thinking. 

As educators first, we at EFs 2 The Rescue found that implementing brain-based research into our classrooms revolutionized the way students approached and applied learning strategies. Much of what educators say and do address executive skills, almost constantly; the difference is that most of it is unbeknownst to the learner. This approach removes judgment from the challenges that students know they struggle with, and inspires them to own their challenges and implement tools to help themselves.

When working with children, an overall goal should be to foster self-awareness and promote self-advocacy. This can be achieved when we explicitly teach children how their brains work. By doing this, we help them to understand that all brains are different and that it is possible to strengthen areas of need. When children are equipped with positive language to discuss their learning profiles, they feel empowered and are more likely to experience success.

EFs 2 The Rescue was developed by educators Mara Berzins and Nicola Daykin in hopes of bringing to life the abstract concept of executive functions for students, parents, and fellow educators.