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Executive Functioning - Organization and SAOTG

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Another school-ready Executive Functioning skill that parents can help develop in their child at an early age is Organization. Some children come into my office and take out the cars in my red plastic case and line them up in a long line across the floor. Other children put all of numbered puzzle blocks in particular patterns. These children are already showing a desire to organize their work. They are also most likely to keep a To Do list and use a planner for school assignments in school. By high school, they will be the ones who use a calendar and plan ahead for projects and major tests. At a recent lunch sponsored by Fusion Academy, guest speaker Evan Weinberger presented an overview of the system his company designed to help students learn effective organizational skills. Over the past eight years I've referred Evan's company Staying Ahead of the Game to about 20 families whose students have learned life long skills. SAOTH  teaches students how to set goals, how to use a planner and calendar, and how to actually study - as opposed to "doing homework." While SAOTG helps students improve their grades, tutors also work with social skills so students learn how to impress even teachers whose classes they actually dislike. 

STEM at The Regis School

Carolyn Means - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

STEM is the big curriculum magnet at schools these days. At The Regis School of the Sacred Heart, STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - is a perfect focus for a school providing a unique education for boys ages 3-8th grade. The youngest boys learn to write code with legos on the library wall or bots in the elementary maker space. They design mazes with tape on the hallway floor. Older boys in the Mac lab create original designs which they produce on 3-D printers, learning the value of precise measurements. New furniture on wheels spins, goes up and down and across the floor in the math lab where boys work in pairs and groups on math projects and games. Since my last campus visit two ping pong tables have been placed in open hall space, golf and tennis have been added to the athletic options, and the new lights on the playing field have promoted more night games on campus. Eighth grade graduates this year will be headed for some of the following high schools: The Kinkaid School, Strake Jesuit Preparatory, St. John's School and St. Thomas High School. 

Why Do Executive Functioning Skills Matter for Admissions

Carolyn Means - Friday, April 06, 2018

When I was making a presentation to parents at ConocoPhillips recently, I asked for a show of hands of those parents who knew about "Executive Functioning Skills". One hand went up. Definitely, this is a topic that I thought was widely understood by parents but it must be just in my world of private school education. We need to change that because developing executive functioning skills - or EF skills - in children is an essential responsibility for parents today. Many EF skills are most evident when they are missing - like the space where a front tooth used to be. Just as every one can tell when a child has lost a front tooth, everyone can tell when a child has lost self-control in the grocery store, at a birthday party or in the classroom. 

Educational research shows that the number one executive functioning skill a child must have in order to learn is Emotional Regulation. This skill begins in the baby's crib and is fostered by loving parents who know that unless their child is hungry, wet or in pain, it is best to let the child cry when she is put down at bedtime. The child learns the power of soothing herself to sleep and not relying on a caregiver to do it for her. Likewise, when a child begins to melt down over a small disappointment, parents need to let the child experience sadness and move on or go to his room until he can calm himself. 

One of my favorite books about teaching executive functioning skills to your children is Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. 



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Nothing is more important than your child's education. SCHOOL SOLUTIONS in Houston, Texas, offers educational consulting services to help parents make the right choice for their child’s school. As an Educational Consultant and founder of SCHOOL SOLUTIONS in 2004, I have helped over 1000 students find the right fit at over 90 different Houston private and public schools, from preschools to high schools, including special needs schools.

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Recent Blog Posts

  1. Executive Functioning - Organization and SAOTG Carolyn Means 10-Apr-2018
  2. STEM at The Regis School Carolyn Means 10-Apr-2018
  3. Why Do Executive Functioning Skills Matter for Admissions Carolyn Means 06-Apr-2018
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