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 excellent 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 quite a few necessary questions.
Should a find out about that observed a 2½-month reap 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 tutorial instructing to make such minimal good points in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught tutorial abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that positive aspects made in tutorial overall performance over youngsters in greater play-based Head Start packages have been typically long past by means 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 practise 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 baby dabbles from one undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical pastime day-after-day, this is no longer pleasant play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does end up greater totally engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is meaningful play, instructors have a fundamental position 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, through 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 toddler “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the instructor and toddler would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate 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 have to be asking the higher questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial capabilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational competencies that put together teenagers for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and studying so regularly 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 complete toolkit will reply questions about constitution colleges and faculty 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 system of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have various advantages for instructing and learning, the consequences can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance to a current Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “ Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments.”
Read the entire article here.
STOP HUMILIATING TEACHERS
“Stop Humiliating Teachers” by means of David Denby used to be 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 simple questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, wishes 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 aid the equal chance of each and every younger baby for an great education. We are in particular worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote frequent preschool public education.
For greater statistics about advocacy for fabulous public education, go to DEY’s internet site 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate need to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American human beings to put households and youngsters first, now 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, known as their senators, and urged individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit enterprise 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 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 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 factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and applied by using humans with exact intentions however frequently 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 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 colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with high-quality electricity committed to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some terrific 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 know-how ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a grasp shared with the aid of many, and internalized via 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 bothered 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 document with their critique.
As I study via the report, I saved underlining the fees from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to raise them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined by using a lack of company 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 terrible have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and getting to know can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as 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 amazing early education, as the person strengths, interests, and desires of youth get lost:
With this intense emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s plenty more difficult for my youth to come to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate through selecting their personal 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 convey us into the lecture rooms studied through 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 coaching in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close analyzing is turning into section of the anticipated ability set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place youth are being requested to grasp analyzing through the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s indispensable for each kindergarten baby to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as a substitute of assisting them come to be equipped 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 infant poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all tiers of society to reduce, and finally quit baby poverty. To do this, we should first renowned that a slim center of attention on enhancing colleges will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with baby 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 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 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 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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