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 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 vital questions.
Should a learn about that observed a 2½-month acquire in tutorial abilities when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive 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 center of attention on educational skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that positive aspects made in educational overall performance over youth in greater play-based Head Start packages have been typically long gone by way of 2nd 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 instructing of studying until now 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 undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical exercise day-after-day, this is now not first-class play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does end up extra entirely engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable function in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further. The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, with the aid of assisting 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 baby “read” the story at a type meeting. With block building, the instructor and infant would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies teenagers want for later faculty success, which includes self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and effective attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational capabilities are a great deal extra necessary for how youngsters will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months acquire they would possibly attain from the early talent coaching obtained in preschool, as suggested in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we ought to be asking the greater questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often 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 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 complete toolkit will reply questions about constitution faculties and college privatization.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL
Secondary training 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 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 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 used to be unable to reply primary 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 tested records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal possibility of each younger toddler for an gorgeous education. We are in particular worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote well-known preschool public education.
For extra records 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 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 warfare 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 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 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 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 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 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 excellent strength 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 examine thru the report, I saved underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to expand them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined via a lack of organisation and autonomy:
The have faith in my knowledge and judgment as a instructor is gone. So are the play and mastering facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a unique lesson and rigidly timed to healthy 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 intense emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a lot more difficult for my young people to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate via selecting their personal activities, collaborating 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 convey 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 statistics units to evaluate public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed practise 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 youth are being requested to grasp studying by means of the cease of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s crucial for each kindergarten infant to experience 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 a substitute of assisting them end up ready and experience profitable and section 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 true assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses toddler poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all levels of society to reduce, and ultimately end child poverty. To do this, we must first acknowledge that a narrow focus on improving schools will not solve the complex problems associated with child poverty.
Breaking the silence was once by no means 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 start 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& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.
Another alternative is to name 202-225-3121 and be related with any congressional member, each Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who solutions that you are adversarial 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.”
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