July 20 from Noon-1:30 p.m. CT

  • Free
  • For Alliance members only
Register Online


Executive function refers to the skills needed for the deliberate, goal-directed self-management of attention, thought, action, emotion, and motivation. These skills, which include cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibitory control, develop rapidly during early childhood, support school readiness and socioemotional competence, and more generally, serve as a foundation for effective learning and adaptation across a wide range of situations. 

This webinar will review what is known about executive function and why there is currently so much interest in it among educators, parents, mental health professionals, economists, and policymakers. Participants will learn how executive function is tied to the brain, how both develop as function of experience, how to measure executive function in childhood and across the lifespan, and effective ways to support its healthy development in the early childhood classroom. Presenters will also share how The Family Partnership is using the MEFS app, a Reflection Sciences’ executive function assessment tool, to validate a curriculum they have developed to build this skillset and improve student outcomes.

Learning Objectives

  • The influence of experiences on brain development and behavior
  • Define and discuss executive function and its development in childhood
  • Why executive function is important for learning and school success
  • How executive function is measured in early childhood

Who Should Attend

  • Program staff
  • Supervisors
  • Clinical staff
  • Administrators


Stephanie Carlson
Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Director of Research at the Institute of Child Development
University of Minnesota

Stephanie Carlson is currently a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and director of research for the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Prior, she was an assistant-to-associate professor in the psychology department at the University of Washington from 1998-2007.

Carlson is a developmental psychologist and internationally recognized leader in the measurement of executive function skills in preschool children. She conducts research on ways to promote the healthy development of executive function in children and their caregivers. Her work has received continuous funding since 2002 for federal agencies and nonprofit foundations including the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Education Sciences, John Templeton Foundation, and the Character Lab.

Carlson’s research is highly cited and has been features in several media outlets, including Time, New York Times Magazine, and National Public Radio.

Terese Haggerty-Lueck
Director of the Unified Therapy Program
The Family Partnership

Terese Haggerty-Lueck is the director of the Unified Therapy program at The Family Partnership, a nonprofit headquartered in Minneapolis. The Family Partnership’s Unified Therapy Department provides health and developmental screenings and developmental therapy services within the framework of The Family Partnership’s mission and vision.

Direct questions to Jennifer Jones, director of the Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance.