WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY
Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as published in the Stamford Advocate, at http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Nothing-abstract-about-the-lessons-11208722.php
WHY PLAY IS VITAL IN PRESCHOOL: DEY’S RESPONSE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORT SUPPORTING FLASH CARDS OVER FREE PLAY
DEY Senior Advisor and Wheelock College professor, Dr. Diane Levin, writes DEY’s response:
At Defending the Early Years (DEY; www.thedeyproject.com) we work to promote terrific academic exercise in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May thirtieth article, “ Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools” (NY Times, 5/30/17) now not solely left us puzzled however raised various necessary questions.
Should a find out about that located a 2½-month obtain in tutorial abilities when taught in preschool have an effect on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal good points in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on educational skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that positive aspects made in tutorial overall performance over teenagers in extra play-based Head Start applications had been usually long past through 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing guidance till age seven, indicates that beginning formal educating of studying until now has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood applications are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as all play is not the same. When a child dabbles from one activity to another, tries out one material and then the next, and/or does the same activity day-after-day, this is not quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a child does become more fully engaged in an activity that develops over time and is meaningful play, teachers have a vital role in facilitating the play to help the child take it further. The teacher also makes decisions about how to integrate more formal early literacy and math skills into the play—for instance, by helping a child dictate stories about his painting and pointing out some of the keywords and letters involved, etc. The teacher can then help the child “read” the story at a class meeting. With block building, the teacher and child might discuss shapes, as she tries to find the right shape for her structure.
This kind of intentional teacher-facilitated learning through play contributes to the many foundational skills children need for later school success, including self-regulation, social skills, creativity, original thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and positive attitudes toward problem-solving. And, in the long run, these foundational skills are much more important for how children will feel about and perform later in school than the 2½ months gain they might obtain from the early skill instruction received in preschool, as reported in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, perhaps we should be asking the bigger questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that academic skills are so important to emphasize in preschool rather than a focus on the development of the “whole child” and foundational skills that prepare children for school success in the later years?
- Why are play and learning so often treated as if they are dichotomous, as they seem to be in this report?
NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION RELEASES ITS NPE TOOLKIT: SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION EXPLAINED
This complete toolkit will reply questions about constitution faculties and faculty privatization.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL
Secondary training is now borrowing thoughts from early childhood. Published April 7, 2017, in The Hechinger Report, read the full article here.
KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS
DON’T USE KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
More than forty states both have or are in the manner of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have various advantages for educating and learning, the consequences can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance to a latest Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “ Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments. ”
Read the entire article here.
STOP HUMILIATING TEACHERS
“Stop Humiliating Teachers” through David Denby used to be posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 problem of The New Yorker.
DEY ISSUES A STATEMENT OPPOSING BETSY DEVOS’ NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
DEY is issuing a assertion in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos confirmed in her hearing testimony on January seventeenth that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She was once unable to reply primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, needs to privatize public education. DeVos has a confirmed records of assisting efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we aid the equal probability of each younger baby for an tremendous education. We are mainly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote typical preschool public education.
For extra data about advocacy for excellent public education, go to DEY’s internet site at www.thedeyproject.com.
ECE POLICY MATTERS’ SUSAN OCHSHORN DISCUSSES BETSY DE VOS NOMINATION AND DEY’S LATEST REPORT, “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT”
THE POWER OF THEIR VOICES: EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS TALK SCHOOL REFORM
(originally published on Jan. 19, 2017)
A former preschool trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate ought to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American human beings to put households and young people first, no longer billionaires.”
Those had been conflict phrases from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. Especially with Microsoft and Amazon amongst her top marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the effects of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to electricity is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft govt runs Washington’s branch of early learning.
In the week earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, known as their senators, and advised participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit enterprise primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the have an effect on of college reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their records from interviews with 34 educators in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, DC.
The link between socioeconomic status and academic achievement has been firmly mounted in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of teens below six years ancient lived in low-income families near or below the poverty line in 2014. The level rises to nearly 70 percent for Black and Native-American children and 64 percent for Hispanic youngsters. In a recent survey conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers across the United States listed family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems as the top barriers to student success.
Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem. As Levin and Van Hoorn factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and carried out by means of human beings with accurate intentions however regularly little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the knowledge now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slender educational competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” instead than the “most good.”
In an exchange at the hearing, between DeVos and Todd Young, a Republican senator from Indiana, she crowed about our “great opportunity…to really empower [teachers] in a new way to do what they do best.” She horrifies educators. They’ve been leaving the field, exhausted and dispirited, in file numbers. Respect for the occupation and morale are at an all-time low, as instructors have picked up the slack for a society that starves its colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with magnificent power devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some wonderful exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a team of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and information ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a grasp shared by means of many, and internalized by way of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are drastically much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled by way of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are concerned about placing their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.
As I examine via the report, I saved underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to make bigger them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined through a lack of corporation and autonomy:
The have confidence in my know-how and judgment as a trainer is gone. So are the play and getting to know facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a unique lesson and rigidly timed to in shape into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The poor have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and getting to know can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as extra rote, and standardized, with much less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults. We’re stealing the coronary heart of wonderful early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wishes of teenagers get lost:
With this excessive emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a lot tougher for my teenagers to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate by way of selecting their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying creatively. They have to take a seat longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors convey us into the school rooms studied by using Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant information sets to examine public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed instruction in reading, writing, and math, once the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close reading is becoming part of the expected skill set of 5-year-olds, and the pressure has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, where children are being asked to master reading by the end of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s integral for each kindergarten baby to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re isolating the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as a substitute of assisting them end up ready and sense profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The record concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual specialists in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of modern-day early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of actual assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses baby poverty, our countrywide stain:
Work at all ranges of society to reduce, and subsequently cease baby poverty. To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer remedy the complicated issues related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in excellent trouble.
DEFENDING THE EARLY YEARS RELEASES ITS LATEST REPORT: “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT: HOW SCHOOL REFORMS ARE FAILING LOW-INCOME YOUNG CHILDREN”
NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION MOUNTING A CAMPAIGN TO DEFEAT BETSY DEVOS AS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
Senate hearings on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education begin on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave concerns about Mrs. DeVos. See “A Sobering Look at What Betsy DeVos Did to Education in Michigan – and What She Might Do as Secretary of Education ” from The Answer Sheet in The Washington Post and “Betsy DeVos and God’s Plan for Schools” in the Dec. 13, 2016 New York Times.
Network for Public Education is mounting a campaign and encouraging educators and other concerned citizens to contact their Senator. Find a sample letter and the addresses of all Senators at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.
Another option is to call 202-225-3121 and be connected with any congressional member, both Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who answers that you are opposed to Mrs. DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education. They will ask for your name and zip code and tally your call as a “yay” or “nay.”
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