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 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) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised a number of necessary questions.
Should a find out about that determined a 2½-month obtain in educational capabilities 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 educating to make such minimal positive factors in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on educational skills? Studies of Head Start packages that taught educational competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that beneficial properties made in tutorial overall performance over youngsters in extra play-based Head Start applications had been normally long gone by way of 2nd 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 guidance till age seven, indicates that beginning formal educating of analyzing formerly 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 cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical recreation day-after-day, this is no longer first-class play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does turn out to be extra entirely engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a fundamental function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by way of supporting 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 toddler “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the instructor and baby would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.
This type of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies teenagers want for later college success, along with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique 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 greater vital for how teens will sense about and operate later in college than the 2½ months attain they may reap from the early ability education acquired in preschool, as suggested 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 lookup on the advantages of great play in preschool packages so frequently 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 getting to know 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 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 forty states both have or are in the manner of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have numerous 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” via David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 trouble 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 fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, desires to privatize public education. DeVos has a established records of assisting efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we guide the equal possibility of each and every younger infant for an remarkable education. We are mainly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and country efforts to promote widespread preschool public education.
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate must to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American humans to put families and youngsters first, no longer billionaires.”
Those were fighting words from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. Especially with Microsoft and Amazon among her top campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the results of our recent election attest, women’s ascent to power is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft executive runs Washington’s department of early learning.
In the week earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and advised contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit employer 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 mounted in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of young people beneath six years ancient lived in low-income families near or beneath the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American teens and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed by means 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 studying 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 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 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 super power committed 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 appreciation shared by using many, and internalized by using these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are extensively much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and troubled by using the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most up-to-date practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the document 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 faith in my know-how and judgment as a instructor is gone. So are the play and studying facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a unique lesson and rigidly timed to suit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and getting to know can’t be overstated. Practice has grow to be greater 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 superb early education, as the character strengths, interests, and desires of adolescents get lost:
With this intense emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a great deal more difficult for my youngsters 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 sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors deliver us into the lecture rooms studied by way of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant facts units to evaluate 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 vital for each kindergarten baby to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re keeping apart the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ rather 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 record concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of present day early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of actual assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses infant poverty, our countrywide stain:
Work at all levels of society to reduce, and ultimately end child poverty. To do this, we must first acknowledge that a narrow focus on improving schools will not solve the complex problems associated with child poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in top 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 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 alternative 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 adverse to Mrs. DeVos’ affirmation as Secretary of Education. They will ask for your identify and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.”
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