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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised numerous vital questions.
Should a study that found a 2½-month gain in academic skills when taught in preschool influence early childhood policy and practice? How can one argue for giving up big chunks of playtime for academic teaching to make such minimal gains in academic performance—with little consideration of what other areas might have lost out because of the focus on academic skills? Studies of Head Start programs that taught academic skills to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s found that gains made in academic performance over children in more play-based Head Start programs were generally gone by second grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as mentioned in the article). Furthermore, research in many European countries, which do not start formal reading instruction until age seven, shows that starting formal teaching of reading earlier 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 infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical recreation day-after-day, this is now not high-quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does grow to be extra utterly engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a necessary function in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further. The trainer additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, via supporting a toddler dictate memories about his painting and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The instructor can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a type meeting. With block building, the instructor and baby would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form 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, possibly we ought to be asking the greater questions:
- Why are years of research on the advantages of satisfactory play in preschool packages so regularly ignored?
- Why is it assumed that educational capabilities are so vital to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together teenagers for faculty success in the later years?
- Why are play and getting to know so frequently dealt with 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 education is now borrowing ideas 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 40 states either have or are in the process of developing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a tool to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have several benefits for teaching and learning, the results can also be used inappropriately, according to a recent Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments. ”
Read the entire article here.
STOP HUMILIATING TEACHERS
“Stop Humiliating Teachers” with the aid of David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 difficulty 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 was once unable to reply primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, desires to privatize public education. DeVos has a tested records of aiding efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal possibility of each younger toddler for an exceptional education. We are specifically worried that DeVos will undermine the country wide and country efforts to promote prevalent preschool public education.
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate have to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American humans to put households and teens first, now not billionaires.”
Those have 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 outcomes of our current election attest, women’s ascent to electricity 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 urged individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organisation 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 set up in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of young people below six years historic lived in low-income families near or under the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey carried out by way of the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and getting to know and psychological troubles as the pinnacle boundaries to scholar success.
Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem. As Levin and Van Hoorn point out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and implemented by people with good intentions but often little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the knowledge now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim tutorial competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” instead than the “most good.”
In an alternate 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 career and morale are at an all-time low, as instructors have picked up the slack for a society that starves its faculties and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with gorgeous power devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some amazing 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 through many, and internalized via these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are extensively much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are dwelling in poverty, and stricken with the aid of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are involved about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.
As I examine via the report, I stored underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to extend them, to raise them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by using a lack of employer and autonomy:
The believe in my knowledge and judgment as a instructor is gone. So are the play and mastering facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a precise lesson and rigidly timed to match into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The negative impact of reforms on children’s development and learning can’t be overstated. Practice has become more rote, and standardized, with less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults. We’re stealing the heart of high-quality early education, as the individual strengths, interests, and needs of children get lost:
With this excessive emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a good deal more difficult for my teenagers to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to examine to self-regulate by way of selecting their very own activities, taking part in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying creatively. They have to take a seat longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors bring us into the classrooms studied by Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally representative data sets to compare 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 indispensable for each and every kindergarten infant 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 children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of assisting them come to be in a position 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 professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of modern-day early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of genuine assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses infant poverty, our countrywide stain:
Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and subsequently stop baby poverty. To do this, we should first renowned that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer clear up the complicated troubles related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence was never so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in good 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 affirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education start on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave worries 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&. Or write your own letter, in your own words.
Another choice is to name 202-225-3121 and be linked 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’ confirmation 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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