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Becoming the Bridge of Hope 15 Children’s Executive Function Ellen Galinsky’s book Mind in the Making (2010) is the culmination of years of her own research interviewing experts on children, as well as reading thousands of studies on children’s development. Galinsky made a connection between chil- dren’s development and the adult skills needed for the twenty-first century. More specifically, she pointed to the development of the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which houses what child development researchers refer to as the executive func- tions of the brain. These functions tie together our ability to manage what is taking place with the different areas of our brain’s abilities, resulting in the prefrontal cortex weaving together our social, emotional, and intellectual capacities. While this emerges in the preschool years, it does not mature until young adulthood. Galinsky (2010, 4) says, “Executive functions pull together our feelings and thinking so that we can reflect, analyze, plan, and evaluate,” and she identifies seven essential life skills: focus and self-control perspective taking communicating making connections critical thinking taking on challenges self-directed, engaged learning We must keep each one of these areas in mind when working with our most challenging children. Intervention can have a big payoff because, as noted by Diamond and Lee (2011), these skills can be improved. We as early childhood professionals must believe and want for children to learn ways to manage frus- tration, recognize and respond to others, use language to communicate, grow cognitively, figure out why things work, embrace opportunities, and be motivated to learn more. It is through executive function that children manage thoughts, actions, and emotions to achieve goals (Miyake et al. 2000). Because of these im- portant processes, the significance of executive function becomes a framework throughout this book, which, in turn, contributes to the important elements that foster and support resiliency. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL