The emergence of human ability to think flexibly—to reason in an abstract manner, to organize, to plan ahead, to initiate, to adapt, to solve problems, to apply new learning to novel tasks—develops as children grow naturally. However, such second and third level skills are also based on the mastery of the primary first level tasks, such as learning to read, to write, to spell and to calculate. While executive function skills are very robust and often develop without the primary tools, in our society, and especially at this time, being able to read with understanding and having the language skills to communicate orally and in a written fashion are key to ongoing and future success.
This complex skill draws on many other skills, and learners develop an internal guidance system or dialogue to guide their thinking in a step-by-step fashion, often by modelling the systems they see used by the adults in their lives, parents and teachers.
A delay in some aspect of the “feeder” skills often delays the development of executive function skills. This affects behaviour as well as emotional maturity, along with academic and cognitive skills. School and life success is impacted in complex ways by the delay in the development of executive function skills proactively.
At the Vancouver Learning Centre, wherever executive function skills are compromised, our faculty are trained to apply the signature programs we have developed over the decades to address these skills proactively.