"School readiness" seems like a transparent if not hackneyed term. Ask anyone on the street and they will tell you about reading, writing, and 'rithmetic as the keys to school readiness. Children should go to school knowing the alphabet, how to tie their shoes, and how to count to 20.

Yet, we live in a time of information overload: in 2009, researchers at the University of California-San Diego estimated that adults read the equivalent of 100,000 words, or 83 newspaper articles, every day. Since 1980, our rate of information intake has grown at more than 5 percent per year — a number that pales in comparison to the growth rate of information available for consumption. In 1982, Buckminster Fuller created the knowledge doubling curve to describe the acceleration of humankind’s accumulation of knowledge. In 2013, new knowledge doubled about every 13 months and in 2018, new knowledge is estimated to double almost every day.

To thrive in such an information-rich environment, the range of school readiness skills must include the familiar "basics" but also go beyond them. In other words, the age of information overload forces us to rethink how we define success. In Becoming Brilliant, one of us, Kathy, argues that traditionally, we think of success as preparing students to do well in the testing of basic skills. No doubt this is important. But even more important is a 21st century definition of success that embraces creating: Happy, healthy, thinking, caring, and social children who will become collaborative, creative, competent, and responsible citizens tomorrow.

This 21st century definition requires consideration of a breadth of skills that we call the 6Cs — skills that are grounded in the science, malleable, and measurable. The 6Cs of collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence align well with models of workplace needs and discussions about cradle to career growth.

Read the full article about embracing executive function skills in learning by Claire E. Cameron, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Helyn Kim at Brookings.