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Executive Function: Skills for Learning and Life

Pamela Shanks


The skills of executive function are integral to our ability to learn and successfully function in a broad range of daily activities. As more has been learned about these critical skills, it has become clear that teachers of young children can make a real difference in their development. In yet another confirmation of the genius of Dr. Montessori, the development of the skills of executive function is quite compatible with Montessori pedagogy and practice. in this session, you will learn about the skills of executive function, their equivalent in Montessori theory, and the basics of the development of these skills in our classrooms. Walk away with the concrete examples of skill development and knowledge that you can apply immediately to your classroom and at home.


Pamela Shanks

Pam Shanks has been involved in both Montessori and special education for her entire teaching career. In addition to her AMS 3-6 credential, Pam earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Kansas and held licensing for early childhood education, early childhood special education, and severe multiple disabilities while teaching in Kansas. She worked as a lead teacher in a primary classroom at Raintree Montessori School, Lawrence, KS, for over 30 years. She coordinated the program of inclusion at Raintree while also serving as a supervising teacher for graduate practicum students from KU’s department of special education placed at Raintree. She served as a Field Based Consultant for the entire tenure of the Inclusive Network of Kansas (INKS) and was an instructor for the University of East Carolina’s Deafblind Intervener Program for several years. She has presented at a variety of conferences including the Montessori World Congress in Portland; authored many articles on special education in Montessori environments; was a contributing author for 2 books; and authored several on-line modules on special education topics. She currently serves as the Associate Head of School at Bowman School in Palo Alto, CA where she continues to support Montessori teachers and inclusive education.

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