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.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 various necessary questions.
Should a find out about that located a 2½-month attain 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 aspects in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on educational skills? Studies of Head Start packages that taught educational capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that beneficial properties made in educational overall performance over kids in greater play-based Head Start applications had been commonly long past by means of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing training till age seven, indicates that beginning formal educating of analyzing in the past 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 toddler dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical recreation day-after-day, this is no longer excellent play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does end up extra wholly engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a quintessential function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, via supporting a infant dictate testimonies 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 type meeting. With block building, the trainer and toddler may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.
This type of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know via play contributes to the many foundational capabilities teens 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 tremendous attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational capabilities are a great deal extra necessary for how teenagers will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months achieve they would possibly attain from the early talent training obtained in preschool, as stated 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 first-class play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial capabilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool instead than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational competencies that put together kids for faculty success in the later years?
- Why are play and getting to know so frequently handled 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 faculty 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 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 fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public training and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a validated records of helping efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we aid the equal probability of each younger toddler for an top notch education. We are specially worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote commonplace preschool public education.
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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
A former preschool instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation 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 teenagers first, now not billionaires.”
Those had 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 outcomes of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to energy 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 influence of college 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 installed in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of kids beneath 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 factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and carried out by means of humans with suitable intentions however regularly little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the information now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim tutorial abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” instead 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 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 faculties and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with gorgeous strength committed 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 examine thru the report, I saved underlining the prices 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 means of a lack of enterprise and autonomy:
The believe 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 precise lesson and rigidly timed to healthy into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and gaining knowledge of can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as 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 wonderful early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wishes of teenagers 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 school rooms studied by using 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 guidance in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close studying is turning into section of the predicted talent 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 vital for each and every 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 an alternative of assisting them come to be in a position 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 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 degrees of society to reduce, and finally quit baby poverty. To do this, we need to first renowned that a slim center of attention on enhancing faculties will now not clear up the complicated issues related with infant poverty.
Breaking the silence was once in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in appropriate 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 start 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 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 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.”