WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY
Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as posted 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.deyproject.org) we work to promote appropriate educational practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May 30th article, “Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools” (NY Times, 5/30/17) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a find out about that observed a 2½-month obtain in tutorial abilities when taught in preschool have an impact on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for tutorial instructing to make such minimal beneficial properties in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly 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 observed that features made in tutorial overall performance over youngsters in extra play-based Head Start packages had been commonly long gone by way of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as referred to in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing education till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of analyzing in the past has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood programs are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having played in a preschool is not enough, as all play is not the same. When a toddler dabbles from one recreation to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal endeavor day-after-day, this is now not great play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does turn out to be greater thoroughly engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a essential position in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further. The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, through supporting a toddler dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The instructor can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a classification meeting. With block building, the instructor and infant may discuss shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.
This sort of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities teens want for later college success, consisting of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and tremendous attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational capabilities are lots extra vital for how teens will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months obtain they would possibly achieve from the early ability training acquired in preschool, as stated in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we must be asking the better 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school privatization.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL
Secondary schooling 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 system of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have quite a few advantages for instructing 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” by David Denby was published in the Feb. 11, 2017 issue of The New Yorker.
DEY ISSUES A STATEMENT OPPOSING BETSY DEVOS’ NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
DEY is issuing a declaration in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos confirmed in her listening to testimony on January seventeenth that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She used to be unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a confirmed records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal chance of each and every younger toddler for an extraordinary education. We are particularly worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote usual preschool public education.
For greater data about advocacy for terrific public education, go to DEY’s internet site at www.deyproject.org.
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 teacher carried the torch for democracy at the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate should to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American people to put families and children first, not billionaires.”
Those had been battle 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 pinnacle marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the effects of our current election attest, women’s ascent to strength is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft government 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 individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit agency based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The report highlights the concerns of early childhood teachers about the impact of school reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their data 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 hooked up in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youth below six years ancient lived in low-income families near or under the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American kids and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a latest survey carried out through the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and gaining knowledge of and psychological issues as the pinnacle obstacles to pupil 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 via human beings with suitable intentions however frequently little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the information now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slender educational abilities 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 document numbers. Respect for the career 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 terrific electricity committed to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some amazing exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a staff that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and knowledge ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, said some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a understanding shared by way of many, and internalized via these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are appreciably 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 most recent practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the report with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I stored underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to extend them, to carry them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by means of a lack of enterprise and autonomy:
The trust in my expertise and judgment as a teacher is gone. So are the play and learning centers in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a specific lesson and rigidly timed to fit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and studying 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 exquisite early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wishes of teens get lost:
With this severe emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s tons more difficult for my teens to grow to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to study to self-regulate with the aid of deciding on their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks 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 way of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant information units 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 essential for every kindergarten child to feel welcomed and included, to be part of the class. Instead, we’re separating the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling kids who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ instead of helping them become competent and feel successful and part 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 contemporary early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of proper assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses baby poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and sooner or later quit baby poverty. To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will no longer resolve the complicated issues related with baby poverty.
Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in precise 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 marketing campaign and encouraging educators and different worried residents to contact their Senator. Find a pattern letter and the addresses of all Senators at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook&. Or write your own letter, in your own words.
Another alternative is to name 202-225-3121 and be related with any congressional member, each Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who solutions that you are adversarial to Mrs. DeVos’ affirmation as Secretary of Education. They will ask for your title and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.”
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