Our fast-paced world requires moments of reflection so that we may address our personal needs, understand, and make a decision in reaction to circumstances. The ability to do this begins in early childhood and is critical for success later in life.
Executive Function is the set of skills that helps us navigate a situation so that we can achieve a desired outcome. Sense of Agency is the internal belief that we have the authority to make decisions. Voice is the belief that we are separate individuals with value and worth.
How can we nurture our children's development of these skills? As parents and teachers, we can encourage a sense of voice in children by questioning and listening to them, hearing and acknowledging their needs. An educator shared a story about a one-year-old in her classroom who did not have the initiative to explore or go after toys. This child would spend the day sitting, unengaged.
To encourage the child, the educator picked the child up and modeled thoughts and actions, saying "Hmm..What do I want to do today? Do I want to play with cars? Do I want to play with blocks?" She wandered around the room until the child reached toward a toy and then they played together. What a beautiful way to spur a child's development of voice!
Post by Laurie McKenney
LUME Early Childhood and Youth Development Specialist