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 instructional 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 numerous essential questions.
Should a learn about that discovered a 2½-month obtain in tutorial competencies when taught in preschool affect early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal features 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 educational abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s observed that good points made in tutorial overall performance over adolescents in extra play-based Head Start applications had been commonly long gone by means of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as stated in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal studying coaching till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of analyzing formerly 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 infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the equal undertaking day-after-day, this is now not pleasant play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does grow to be greater completely engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a critical 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 abilities into the play—for instance, by using supporting a infant dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the infant “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the trainer and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies kids want for later faculty success, consisting of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and fine attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational competencies are a lot extra essential for how adolescents will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months acquire they would possibly attain from the early ability practise acquired 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 lookup on the advantages of satisfactory play in preschool packages so regularly 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 often 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 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 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” by using 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 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 used to be unable to reply simple questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, needs to privatize public education. DeVos has a confirmed records of aiding efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we aid the equal probability of each and every younger baby for an outstanding education. We are particularly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote familiar preschool public education.
For extra data about advocacy for gorgeous 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the confirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate ought to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American humans to put households and kids first, no longer billionaires.”
Those had been struggle 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 strength is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft govt 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 document highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the affect of faculty reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their facts 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 kids 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 issues as the pinnacle limitations 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 by means of human beings with precise intentions however regularly little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the understanding now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim educational capabilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” as an alternative 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 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 colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with extraordinary power devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some top notch exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a staff that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and understanding ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a understanding shared via many, and internalized by using 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 residing in poverty, and troubled by way 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 thru the report, I stored underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to make bigger them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined via a lack of corporation 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 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 severe emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a good deal more difficult for my young people to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to examine to self-regulate with the aid of selecting their personal activities, taking part in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or taking part in creatively. They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors convey us into the school rooms studied with the aid 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 education 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 teenagers are being requested to grasp analyzing with the aid of the give up of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s crucial 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 children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ rather of supporting them turn out to be in a position and sense profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The document concludes with a sequence 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, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses infant poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all ranges of society to reduce, and finally stop baby poverty. To do this, we should first renowned that a slender center of attention on enhancing faculties will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in correct 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 commence 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 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&. 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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