Why Executive Functioning in Students is Important

Mar 14, 2017, Sonya Patel

There has been a fair amount of research done in recent years about mindfulness in the classroom – we at amaZEN U have also done quite a bit of our own research to help us create our library of yoga and mindfulness videos.

What the research keeps finding is that mindfulness really helps improve executive functioning in children. Executive functioning is “the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully”. (http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/) Specifically, executive function are the skills that help us get things done. They are controlled by the frontal lobe in the brain (http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/executive-function#1). In children, these skills are important for learning and development. Without them, kids aren’t equipped to make healthy choices for themselves or others.

We are not born with these skills, nor is there a single specific test that identifies executive functioning skills as they would be used in everyday life.

But we do know that there are activities and exercises one can do to help improve their brain’s executive functioning. In the classroom, physical activity, combined with “brain rests”, have been shown to increase test scores in math, science and reading. So for example, students that learn a new academic concept, then spend five minutes flowing through a short yoga sequence or practicing breath work before going back and reviewing the previous lesson will better remember the new information they were taught, and be more likely to retain that information for a longer period of time.

amaZEN U’s yoga and mindfulness videos are designed to provide your students these brain breaks that are so important for developing their executive functioning skills for the future. Subscriptions are only $5 per month. Try us for free for your first month – no obligation!

If you are interested in learning more about this topic and how yoga and mindfulness can help your students, check out our white paper “amaZEN U and the classroom: yoga and mindfulness videos as a classroom tool for developing self-regulation, self-management, and helping to cope with the effects of trauma”. (http://zenworks.ny001.rndpxl.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/amaZEN-U-White-Paper-2017.pdf)

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