The Science Behind Cerebrate

The Cerebrate Curriculum is deeply rooted in science. The seven essential components of Cerebrate are based on the leading research in the field of executive function to ensure that students are truly developing the skills that they need to learn successfully.



Assessment is critical to narrow in on specific student struggles and know exactly what strategies should be used for improvement. Educators are in a key setting for observing and assessing behaviors for improvement in a realistic context.

Lively Minds Institute provides curriculum that focuses on 64 specific executive function challenges within 8 areas. With hundreds of lessons, we focus attention on the development of necessary skills, and our unique lessons can be adapted for a single student or an entire classroom.

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A student’s desire and drive to improve are vital for success. Motivation can come from external rewards or even obligation, and sometimes those extrinsic methods provide the kick-start a student needs to apply him or herself. However intrinsic motivators like enjoyment, curiosity, or pride in accomplishments prove to help students with long-term learning and application of skills.

Our Cerebrate lessons promote that students take ownership of their development while recognizing their individual accomplishments and growth. We direct students to consider their individual strengths and weaknesses as they develop targeted skills while also providing challenges and opportunities to persist, so students feel and see their work’s inherent value.

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There’s an old adage: “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” While we don’t think of students as “flies,” this saying makes a valuable point. The honey is represented by our collaboration, or partnership, with students, while the vinegar would be demanding or dictating a student’s outcomes. Clearly, collaboration with students wins when addressing executive function struggles, and is not only helpful, but also necessary for students to develop self-awareness and problem-solving skills as we work toward improvement.

Our Cerebrate curriculum empowers students to develop awareness and confidence as they learn. Lessons are structured to encourage students to listen actively, ask questions and think critically, and evaluate their progress reflectively while building strong habits through practice.

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Engagement and Motivation are closely linked when educators teach EF skills. Providing a variety of activities, questions, and opportunities to express themselves allows EF challenged students to maintain focus, think critically, stay motivated, and invest in significant learning experiences. Engagement is critical to the “how” when we approach executive function training.

Our Cerebrate curriculum encourages students to think, reflect and respond critically as they learn skills. An inherent part of the curriculum is for students to stay engaged with a variety of adaptable lessons so students can learn actively.

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Because executive functions skills are detailed and often require close-attention to habits, teaching specific executive function skills with a straight-forward, direct approach and repetitive practice proves to be most effective. In addition, students should be provided opportunities to self-reflect and assist in monitoring their own progress.

The Cerebrate curriculum contains strategies to be taught and reviewed with students for development of necessary skills in 8 executive function areas – Self-Control, Self-Monitor, Emotional Control, Flexibility, Task Initiation, Working Memory and Attention, Planning and Time Management, and Organization. Lessons provide opportunities for students to set goals with detailed guidance from educators and for monitoring progress as students practice skills.

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Application is watching what we have taught function in live, realistic environments. When working with students struggling with executive function skills it becomes all that more important to provide opportunities for use.

The Cerebrate lessons can be applied in various learning environments and in real-life situations. Students are equipped to associate specific skills to their own circumstances by establishing independent academic and personal goals and by developing habits and routines meaningful to their lives.

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For anyone with executive function challenges, awareness of specific struggles as well as when and how to use particular strategies become essential to learning necessary skills. For example, if a student is aware of what distractions keep him from focusing on homework, he can know how to adapt his environment if he is guided through and practices techniques. The student’s participation in his own growth and self-reflection enable him to respond more independently and practically.

With over 200 unique lessons, we provide multiple chances for students to consider about how they learn, what works best in what environments or circumstances, as well as to become increasingly self-aware while establishing routines, goals, and habits they are invested and interested in.

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