Recently, the Eton Parent Council hosted a Learning Event entitled Development of Executive Functions: The Brain and Learning. The topic of the evening got me thinking about those skills and competencies that we hope to nurture in children that go beyond academics and the "Three R's."
Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child provides a good overview of the concept of Executive Function & Self-Regulation. They also provide a video overview filmed in a Montessori classroom.
A related article from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, What Makes SEL Work?, describes a framework of social-emotional skills that expand on executive function skills to include emotion skills and interpersonal skills. The research team that developed this framework also examined the efficacy of different social-emotional learning programs and came to an important conclusion:
The takeaway: SEL should exist everywhere at school, across the building — with every adult in the building on board. Educators should teach SEL through strategies, routines, and structures, as opposed to just through lessons and curricula.
This is exactly what we embrace and put into practice at Eton every day. Social-emotional learning does not happen on a schedule at certain times on certain days; it transpires all the time and every day. Our teachers and all the adults on campus model effective regulation-related skills and actively foster those skills in their interactions with students.This research team also created information for parents who want to learn more about how they can foster self-regulation for children at home. That article, Building Success at Home: How Parents Can Build and Model Self-Regulation Skills to Bolster Children's Success, is also available on the same site.