Phase Three: Learning & Development

Phase III includes three areas that are closely linked, but each is dependent upon the other to ensure optimal outcomes for students.

Executive Functioning Skills:
Experts agree that executive functioning skills are the foundations for future success.

“There has been a lot of research in the past decade or so on how children learn and what’s important for them to be able to learn,” said Dr. Bunney. “As it turns out, a lot of that research shows that executive functioning skills are the primary skills necessary to prepare children for learning”

Put another way, Dr. Bruce Wexler explains that “executive functions prime the brain of a student so they are able to learn and absorb the information being taught.”

The primary executive functioning skills are working memory, focused attention, self-control and cognitive flexibility. Executive functioning skills are the precursors to learning and are better predictors of student success than reading or math scores or even IQ. It is vital to develop and strengthen these skills intentionally as part of a universal curriculum.

Being intentional about creating opportunities for students to not only develop these executive functioning skills but to practice them on a daily basis is so incredibly important when we look at student success.

Knowledge and Understanding:
The second area within Learning & Development involves the use of high-quality curriculum to develop depth of knowledge in all content areas, including reading, math, science, history and self-regulation.

With executive functioning skills in place to prime the brain for optimal learning, the EVSC uses a curriculum that intentionally aligns with how the brain develops and that creates opportunities for students to have experiences beyond the traditional classroom in order to help them develop deeper engagement and a love for learning.

Skill Development:
Skill Development is the culmination of learning. At this stage, students are able to use their executive functioning skills, content knowledge and self-regulation skills to absorb academic knowledge and solve complex problems, think critically, communicate effectively and be innovative.

This is the core of the world in which we live today. Knowledge and information will advance quickly and students will need to be able to continuously expand their knowledge and use their 21st century skills to contribute positively to their community, workplace and family. GAIN sets the stage for them to do just that.