WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY
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 fabulous 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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a learn about that observed a 2½-month achieve in educational abilities when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for educational educating to make such minimal positive factors 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 discovered that beneficial properties made in educational overall performance over teens in extra play-based Head Start applications had been commonly long gone with the aid of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as referred to in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing coaching till age seven, indicates that beginning formal instructing of studying beforehand 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 exercise to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical endeavor day-after-day, this is no longer nice play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does emerge as extra absolutely engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable function 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, by means of assisting a baby dictate tales about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The instructor can then assist the baby “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the instructor and infant would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure 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 better questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial abilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool instead than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together young people for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and gaining knowledge of so frequently handled 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 colleges and college 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 forty states both have or are in the method of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have a number of advantages for educating and learning, the outcomes 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 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 towards public training and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a validated records of aiding efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we guide the equal probability of each and every younger baby for an awesome education. We are mainly worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote widely wide-spread preschool public education.
For greater statistics about advocacy for terrific 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
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 outcomes of our latest 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 before the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, called their senators, and entreated members of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organization based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The file highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the influence of faculty reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their information 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 established in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 47 percent of children under six years old 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 adolescents and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed by using the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and mastering and psychological troubles as the pinnacle boundaries 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 applied with the aid of humans with precise intentions however regularly little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the expertise now face a “profound ethical dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the teaching and assessment of narrow academic skills at younger and younger ages, early childhood educators are forced to do the “least harm,” rather than the “most good.”
In an change 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 record numbers. Respect for the profession and morale are at an all-time low, as teachers have picked up the slack for a society that starves its schools and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with great energy dedicated to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some awesome 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, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a understanding shared by means of many, and internalized through 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 stricken by way of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most modern practitioners are involved about placing their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.
As I read through the report, I kept underlining the quotes from the teachers, as if to amplify them, to lift them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s robust evidence base, but they’re undermined by a lack of agency and autonomy:
The have confidence in my information 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 precise lesson and rigidly timed to healthy into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has turn out to be 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 exceptional early education, as the character strengths, interests, and wants of youngsters get lost:
With this severe emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s lots more difficult for my adolescents to grow to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to examine to self-regulate with the aid of deciding on their very own activities, collaborating in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying creatively. They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors carry us into the lecture rooms studied with the aid of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant facts 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 fundamental 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 youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as a substitute of supporting them emerge as ready and sense profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The document concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of contemporary 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 baby poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all tiers of society to reduce, and eventually give up baby poverty. To do this, we have to first renowned that a slender center of attention on enhancing colleges will now not resolve the complicated troubles related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in suitable 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 issues 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 involved 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& 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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