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 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 countless vital questions.
Should a learn about that discovered a 2½-month reap in educational abilities when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for tutorial instructing to make such minimal positive factors in tutorial 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 tutorial abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s determined that positive factors made in educational overall performance over kids in extra play-based Head Start packages had been commonly long past with the aid of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing preparation till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of studying before has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood applications are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as all play is not the same. When a baby dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is now not fine play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does grow to be extra wholly engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a integral function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using assisting a baby dictate memories 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 type 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 sort of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities youngsters want for later college success, which include self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and high-quality attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are tons greater vital for how youth will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months reap they may acquire from the early talent education obtained in preschool, as pronounced 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 educational abilities are so vital to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together youngsters for faculty 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 college 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 procedure 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” 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 assertion 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 simple questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public training and, instead, desires to privatize public education. DeVos has a tested records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we assist the equal possibility of each and every younger baby for an outstanding education. We are particularly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and country efforts to promote regular 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 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 participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit corporation 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 adolescents below six years historical 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 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 trade 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 report 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 splendid 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 body of workers that has long 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 with the aid of many, and internalized through these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are notably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are dwelling in poverty, and stricken by means 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 document with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I stored underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to carry them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, but they’re undermined via a lack of organization and autonomy:
The have confidence in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone. So are the play and getting to know facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a particular lesson and rigidly timed to match into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and getting to know can’t be overstated. Practice has come 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 magnificent early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wants of kids get lost:
With this extreme emphasis on what’s called ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s much harder for my children to become self-regulated learners. Children have no time to learn to self-regulate by choosing their own activities, participating in ongoing projects with their classmates, or playing creatively. They have to sit longer, but their attention spans are shorter.
The authors deliver us into the lecture rooms studied via Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant statistics units to evaluate public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed guidance in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close studying is turning into phase of the anticipated ability set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place young people are being requested to grasp studying through the stop of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s imperative for each kindergarten baby to sense welcomed and included, to be phase 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,’ as a substitute of assisting them emerge as capable and sense profitable and phase of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The file 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 proper assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses toddler 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 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 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& amp;. 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’ 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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