Supporting Executive Function Skills in Early Childhood: Using a Peer Buddy Approach for Community, Confidence, and Citizenship

Kathleen I. Harris


This article provides a descriptive overview of a peer buddy program designed to develop and support young children’s executive functioning in early childhood classrooms. The author defines and categorizes executive function skills and analyzes their development in early childhood and benefits in the continued academic success of young children. The steps in creating a peer buddy program are explained, and a framework is provided for teachers to help the entire class develop effective executive function skills while facilitating positive social skills for classroom community building and citizenship. By supporting young children in their efforts to develop stronger executive function skills, teachers build resilience and help them discover their strengths for facilitating social interactions, problem-solving skills, and confidence in cognitive decision making to be successful citizens at home and in school.

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