Executive functions are gaining some momentum in education, but what are they?
Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully. Just as an air traffic control system at a busy airport safely manages the arrivals and departures of many aircraft on multiple runways, the brain needs this skill set to filter distractions, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses. (source)
Still not clear, check this video:
We know that training executive function skills in kindergarten can have an important impact on later academic success, but working on those skills at any age can be relevant.The Harvard Center on The Developing Child published an activities guide which describes a variety of activities and games that represent age-appropriate ways for adults to support and strengthen various components of EF/SR in children.
Each chapter of this guide contains activities suitable for a different age group, from infants to teenagers. The guide may be read in its entirety (which includes the introduction and references) or in discrete sections geared to specific age groups.
Actually, many of the activities will ring a bell and have we been doing for decades in the classroom, still some are new.