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Executive Function Strategies Blog

Can Spending Time in Nature Improve Executive Functioning?

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Michael Keesler, J.D., Ph.D., a neuropsychologist who practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Please see his full bio below.

With spring’s arrival, parents and children are shaking off winter’s cabin fever and returning outdoors. On the one hand, it is no great insight to observe that we enjoy spending time outdoors in nice weather. But there may be more to this phenomenon than we all know intuitively. Indeed, a growing body of research now supports what many of us in the mental health community have long suspected. This is simply that our mental and physical wellbeing actually relies upon interaction in and with nature.



Yoga and Executive Function: A Combination for Student Success

Lately yoga has been paired with everything from goats to beer, but the most natural pairing may well be yoga and students. For a fun activity that has no specific goal, yoga can certainly pack a punch when it comes to helping with self-management skills. How could a non-competitive exercise help students to sharpen their Executive Function skills? Practicing yoga not only helps develop confidence and focus, it also enhances the calm, reflective abilities that support higher level thinking skills.



A Day in the Life of a 4th Grader With Executive Function Challenges

As an adult, you may think that being a fourth-grader is the easiest life around — no bills to pay, no worries about your career, no responsibilities other than some homework and a couple simple household chores. But can you imagine being a fourth grader whose everyday world of school and home feels overwhelming because they lack the Executive Function skills needed to keep focused, manage their time, and stay organized? Consider the stress that’s a daily part of the life of a fourth grade student with Executive Function challenges in these three typical scenarios - and see some solutions that Executive Function coaches use to support students who are struggling.



Infographic: When Do Executive Function Skills Typically Emerge in Children?

As Executive Function coaches, parents frequently ask us what skills are typical for students to have mastered by a certain age. The answer is often complex, as each child is unique — a child's learning profile, developmental history, environment, and life experiences all interact to influence how and when Executive Function skills emerge and solidify. We've created this handy infographic below to help parents get a sense of the types of Executive Function skills that are typically emerging for most students as they move through school and into adulthood.