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 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 numerous essential questions.
Should a find out about that observed a 2½-month reap in educational capabilities when taught in preschool have an effect on 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 tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start packages that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s determined that beneficial properties made in tutorial overall performance over teenagers in greater play-based Head Start packages had been normally long past 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, indicates that beginning formal educating of studying previously 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 infant dabbles from one undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal endeavor day-after-day, this is no longer nice play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does emerge as extra entirely engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further. The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, through supporting a infant dictate testimonies about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a classification 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 form of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities young people want for later college success, consisting of 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 competencies are an awful lot extra essential for how kids will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months attain they would possibly gain from the early talent practise acquired in preschool, as stated in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we need 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 educational abilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool alternatively 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 getting to know 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 faculties 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 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 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 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 in opposition to public schooling and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a confirmed records of assisting efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal chance of each and every younger baby for an outstanding education. We are mainly involved that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote conventional preschool public education.
For extra data about advocacy for terrific 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 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 have been hostilities 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 consequences of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to electricity 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and urged participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit company based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The document 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 records 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 hooked up in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of young people beneath six years historic 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 young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed by way 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 getting to know and psychological troubles 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 carried out with the aid of human beings with top intentions however frequently 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 slender educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” alternatively 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 missing from the action. The motives are complex. This is a personnel 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 through many, and internalized by way of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are considerably 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 inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the report 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 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 precise lesson and rigidly timed to suit into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad affect of reforms on children’s improvement and gaining knowledge of can’t be overstated. Practice has come 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 tremendous early education, as the character strengths, interests, and desires of young people get lost:
With this severe emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a great deal tougher for my youth to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate by using deciding on their personal activities, taking part in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or taking part in creatively. They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors bring us into the classrooms studied by Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally representative data sets to compare 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 essential for every kindergarten child to feel welcomed and included, to be part of the class. Instead, we’re separating the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling kids who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ instead of helping them become competent and feel successful and part of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The document concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual specialists in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of contemporary early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of true assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses baby poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and sooner or later quit toddler poverty. To do this, we ought to first well known that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with toddler 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 affirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education commence 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 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 antagonistic 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.”