cognitive functioning +

CORE Competency skills

What is cognitive functioning?


Cognitive functioning refers to mental abilities such as learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, decision making, and attention.

When does cognitive functioning develop in children?


Between ages 7 and 11 children are in the concrete operational stage. They become less egocentric (self-focused) and begin to differentiate between themselves, others and their environment. Children enter the formal operational stage around 11 when they find it easier to use logic to solve problems and can perform future thinking.


How does cognitive functioning develop?


Development in cognitive functioning varies. Children excel at some mental abilities and lag behind in others. Cognitive functioning can be improved with practice.  


How does Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids improve your children's cognitive functioning?


At Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids we teach children strategies to enhance their cognitive functioning and with the escape rooms they have a fun and challenging experience practicing the skills collaboratively and repeatedly.

Link to the BC Curriculum

The BC Curriculum targets the development of cognitive functioning with the inclusion of core competency skills. The core competency skills represent cognitive functions and are practiced with every subject. This gives children and youth many opportunities to develop their cognitive functioning. In addition, elementary and high school students are evaluated on their abilities to demonstrate core competencies skills. This guarantees that they remain an important aspect of learning.

Link to work and future success

The core competency skills are referred to as soft business skills. These are the skills that everyone uses regardless of where they work. Stronger skills have been linked to leadership fast tracking and better mental health. Many children start working in casual jobs as early as 12 years old (eg. babysitting) and enter the workforce at 15. Strong core competency/soft business skills give children a greater feeling of control in their early work experiences and throughout their academic studies.

Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids + Core Competency Skills:

When you register you will be asked which core competency skills you would like your children to develop. We group participants based on age and core competency skill interests.

Communication: The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill that can impact student’s academic and social success. As they escape rooms in teams, they practice listening, nonverbal communication, positive communication, and asking questions to better understand their teammates’ points of view. In the advanced levels, participants learn negotiation and conflict resolution. Participants see the direct impact of improving their communication skills on their team’s ability to solve puzzles and escape rooms.


Decision Making: Decision-making is a crucial skill for children. The process of decision-making helps children define their personality and create an individuated self. Children are constantly required to make decisions at home and school and often worry about making the wrong choice. Participants learn a variety of simple processes for making decisions. We emphasize experimenting which helps children to try out their decision, gather information on how their decision worked, and try again. Completing puzzles to escape rooms provides children with a lot of opportunities to apply their decision-making skills and raise their awareness of their teammates’ choices.

Teamwork: Participants learn strategies to improve their teamwork skills. They develop their confidence in using the skills as they work as a team to complete puzzles and escape rooms. Teamwork is an important skill for children as they frequently work in small groups on projects and presentations. However, children are rarely taught small-group skills and strategies for ensuring individual and group accountability.

Collaborative Leadership: Within school, children are evaluated on their ability to collaborate on assignments and projects. Essentially children are asked to participate in self-managed teams where every member is a leader. However, they are rarely taught how to be an effective team leader. In after-school programs with a collaborative leadership focus, children learn leadership strategies for teams. They test out their new skills as they solve puzzles together and escape rooms.

Creative Thinking: Creative thinking is an invaluable skill for creating school work that is novel, relevant, exceptional, and innovative. Children who are skilled at creative thinking have an easier time overcoming barriers. They see problems as interesting opportunities, don’t give up easily, and work hard to the end of their projects. Escaping helps children to challenge their assumptions, suspend judgment and tolerate ambiguity. Children learn methods for initiating creative thinking when they get stuck and to develop their ability to think creatively in a team setting.

Critical Thinking. Strong critical thinking skills are vital for school and the future. Many children can come up with ideas but they have difficulty putting those ideas into action. Participants in Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids programs learn how to organize their ideas, decide what is achievable, and implement their ideas. They learn to make sense of information, analyze, compare, contrast, and make inferences as they solve puzzles and escape rooms.

Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking involves taking into account the impact of one’s own and others’ actions. Developmental limitations of children tend to make strategic and “future” thinking challenging. We teach children strategies that improve their future thinking.

Self-Regulation: Self-regulation is more than controlling emotions. It involves developing strategies for going beyond learning to work towards mastery. This takes planning, and time to learn, practice, and experiment. The escape-room puzzles provide children with ample opportunities to evaluate their new strategies and develop their self-regulation in team settings.

Emotional Intelligence/Resiliency: Emotional intelligence is how people attend to, experience, and react to situations. Children who have developed emotional intelligence are able to go beyond accepting or rejecting feedback. They learn to ask questions and focus on the information as opposed to the person. As they escape together, teams practice emotional intelligence strategies they learn at Awesome Escape Rooms 4 Kids. They learn to react constructively to feedback they receive from their teachers, peers, coaches, and family members.