The mission of After-School All-Stars is to support youth in being successful in school and life. A big part of being successful is one’s ability to manage thoughts, actions, and emotions. The process of improving on these abilities is called Executive Functions. These skills make it possible for us to:

  • Adapt to changing situations
  • Keep and access information in our minds to be used in our daily lives
  • Resist impulsive behavior that may be hurtful

These help us to accomplish things in our lives by setting goals and solving problems that all of us will face one time or another.

Why are these executive function skills so important?

They have been connected to direct success in school and life, as well as healthy and abundant lives.

There are seven Essential Life Skills that are connected to executive functions. These are:

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    1Focus and Self Control

    As All-Stars, we need this skill to achieve goals, especially in a world filled with distractions and information overload. This includes paying attention, exercising self-control, remembering the rules and thinking flexibility.

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    2Perspective Taking

    This involves understanding what others think and feel and forms the basis for how youth understand the intentions of parents, teachers and friends. Students with this skill are less likely to get involved in conflicts.

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    Much more than understanding language, reading, writing and speaking, communicating is the skill of determining what one wants to communicate and realizing how it will be understood by others. It is the skill teachers and employers feel is most lacking today.

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    4Making Connections

    This Life Skill is at the heart of learning: figuring out what’s the same, what’s different, and sorting them into categories. Making unusual connections is at the core of creativity and moves students beyond knowing information to using information well.

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    5Critical Thinking

    This skill can help our All-Stars analyze and evaluate information to guide their beliefs, decisions and actions. Youth need critical thinking to make sense of the world around them and to solve problems.

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    6Taking On Challenges

    As All-Stars, if we take on challenges instead of avoiding or simply coping with them will help us achieve and reach our goals in school and in life.

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    7Self-Directed and Engaged Learning

    By setting goals and strategies for learning, your children can become attuned and better prepared to change as the world changes. This helps students foster their innate curiosity to learn, and helps them realize their potential.

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To learn more about executive functions, you can visit the Mind in the Making website.