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.thedeyproject.com) we work to promote excellent 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) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised countless vital questions.
Should a study that found a 2½-month gain in academic skills when taught in preschool influence early childhood policy and practice? How can one argue for giving up big chunks of playtime for academic teaching to make such minimal gains in academic performance—with little consideration of what other areas might have lost out because of the focus on academic skills? Studies of Head Start programs that taught academic skills to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s found that gains made in academic performance over children in more play-based Head Start programs were generally gone by second grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as mentioned in the article). Furthermore, research in many European countries, which do not start formal reading instruction until age seven, shows that starting formal teaching of reading earlier 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 child dabbles from one activity to another, tries out one material and then the next, and/or does the same activity day-after-day, this is not quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a child does become more fully engaged in an activity that develops over time and is meaningful play, teachers have a vital role in facilitating the play to help the child take it further. The teacher also makes decisions about how to integrate more formal early literacy and math skills into the play—for instance, by helping a child dictate stories about his painting and pointing out some of the keywords and letters involved, etc. The teacher can then help the child “read” the story at a class meeting. With block building, the teacher and child might discuss shapes, as she tries to find the right shape for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies adolescents 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 tremendous attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are tons extra essential for how youngsters will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months achieve they may gain from the early talent coaching obtained in preschool, as said in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we must be asking the better questions:
- Why are years of lookup on the advantages of exceptional play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial abilities are so vital to emphasize in preschool alternatively than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together young people for college 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school privatization.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL
Secondary schooling 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 means of David Denby was once 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 statement 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, desires to privatize public education. DeVos has a validated records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we guide the equal chance of each younger infant for an extraordinary education. We are particularly worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote standard preschool public education.
For greater statistics about advocacy for fantastic 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
(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 war 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 current election attest, women’s ascent to energy is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft government 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 employer based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The file highlights the issues 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 hooked up in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youth below six years historical 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 youth and 64 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 across the United States listed household stress, poverty, and gaining knowledge of 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 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 understanding now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slender educational competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” alternatively 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 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 exceptional power devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some notable exceptions—have been missing from the action. The reasons are complex. This is a workforce that has long been marginalized, their work devalued, and expertise ignored. “It’s just babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, said some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a perception shared by many, and internalized by those in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based programs are significantly less than those of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are living in poverty, and afflicted by the toxic stress common among their students. The newest practitioners are worried about putting their careers at risk. Few have been willing to go on the record 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 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 bad influence of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has turn out 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 superb early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wishes of young people 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 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 imperative for each and every kindergarten baby to experience 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 emerge as able and experience profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The file 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 proper assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses infant poverty, our countrywide stain:
Work at all stages of society to reduce, and finally cease baby poverty. To do this, we have to first renowned that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer resolve the complicated troubles related with infant poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in accurate 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 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 adverse 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.”