This past week I had an opportunity to present a program at Brick Church School on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The program was sponsored by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and teachers from schools in several states were invited to attend. How fantastic it is to connect with like minded professionals. I think it’s safe to say that those who teach the youngest children are deeply receptive to a dialogue about the important role of executive functions between the ages of 3-6. The process of building these skills is different from working with older students, but so much is at stake!
One of my priorities in discussing these issues is to get past the reductive idea that the purpose of executive skills is merely to get better grades. Yes, better grades may occur, but when we thoughtfully address executive functions we are helping to build more confident, capable young people. This means pointing young learners toward a life in which they have greater ability to make important choices, and to script their own lives. I think those who attend my presentations would agree that my approach to this content is integrative, and inclusive of several key perspectives: academic, social, developmental, family, and of course, bliss.
In my view, those professionals who have dedicated themselves to the youngest learners have taken on a serious, yet joyful job. A short while ago I was at The River School in Washington, D.C., and I found a similar degree of dedication and creativity in that wonderful school! Years ago I would often feel anxious about addressing large groups of experienced teachers. These days I am happy to say I mostly feel gratitude to connect with great colleagues. There is tremendous positivity among those working with children, and rightfully so. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me about these issues, and who bring so much sincerity and passion to Building the 8 Pillars of Capable Young Minds.