Cognition refers to the mental skills that are critical for learning and development. Executive function refers to a specific set of mental skills that enable us to pay attention, plan, think creatively, problem solve, and exercise self-control. Executive Function also helps us to regulate our behaviour and emotions in a positive or goal directed way. A child’s capacity to learn relies heavily on their Cognition and Executive Function skills.
Data from the Thrive by Five Index found that overall, scores were relatively low for this learning domain, with more than half (58.6%) of children classified as Falling Behind.
This Action Brief offers an explanation of the importance of Cognition and Executive Function for academic and social outcomes. The Brief also presents specific actions to take to rectify the current status quo. The Brief is authored by Dr. Caylee Cook who is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit.