I’ve attempted to read at least three different titles about kids and executive brain function. They all have very snappy claims, from “Skills Every Kid Must Learn” to “How to Raise Successful Kids” to “Understanding the Kid Brain”. Yes, these are total clickbait headlines.
Of course, as a parent, you want to be able to teach your kids the secrets to adulting early. But it’s not like you can just hack their brain function. Executive function skills include: Focus and self-control, communication, planning, self-regulation, self-direction and motivation, collaboration, problem-solving, adjusting to social situations, etc. A lot of these we didn’t actively learn until we had to take a study skills class.
So this isn’t quite a Course Notes post, but I absolutely loved this Continuing Ed seminar I took a couple weeks ago on core foundational skills essential for learning. It especially informs our thoughts on school readiness and I want to share it with you all. So here we go!
Ready or not, your little one will soon attend school and you will most likely have concerns if they’re prepared or not. School readiness refers to the range of proficiencies — language and literacy, cognition, social and emotional skills — needed for your child to easily transition into school. But to be successful in these skills, certain foundations need to be in place.
I’ve been beyond excited for this school year since April. After reading The Most Important Year and the girls acceptance into our state-funded Pre-K program, I was determined to give my kids the best school experience ever.
I did everything I could think of to be ready. Their school supplies were bought in June. But the entire week before school started, I had the worst sleep. I kept thinking that I had forgotten something. That they weren’t prepared. That they were going to hate their big elementary school. That somewhere there was a mistake and they weren’t registered. It was spiraling black hole of worry.
It’s been about a month since my 5-year-old officially became a kindergartner. As much as I would like to say that I was fully prepared for this transition, I was not emotionally ready for the relationship changes between us.
For some reason, I thought this school year was going to be like the preschool ones before it. I’d get a “Love you!” and a quick hug at drop-off and then chat about his day afterwards on our way home. Yeah, I didn’t get any of that.
Instead, I had a kid who just popped out of the car in morning and stayed quiet on our walk from the bus stop in the afternoon. Like, what was happening?
Although I knew that his silence was most likely just him processing everything from his school day, it was still a hard pill to swallow. It’s the realization that my kiddo is growing up and these moments of connection with him were shifting.
It’s been a couple weeks since our kids started school. This is the first time my twins and Mary’s son are going to “big school” and a lot of stress popped up in some very weird places.
Luckily, one of my lifelines is my cousin Dani. She is a former elementary and middle school teacher with her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has over two decades of experience working with kids of all ages and in multi-age environments. Again, hooray for having a super-accomplished inner circle.
We gave her some questions about helping kids with their first couple days back at school, and things parents may overlook.