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 gorgeous 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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised numerous essential 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 baby dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical pastime day-after-day, this is no longer high-quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does emerge as greater thoroughly engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further. The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using assisting a toddler dictate tales 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 classification meeting. With block building, the instructor and infant would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.
This sort of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities youngsters want for later college success, consisting of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and wonderful attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are lots greater essential for how youngsters will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months obtain they may reap from the early ability coaching acquired in preschool, as suggested in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we have to be asking the larger 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 getting to know so regularly 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” via 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 fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, needs to privatize public education. DeVos has a established records of aiding efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we aid the equal possibility of each younger baby for an magnificent education. We are particularly worried that DeVos will undermine the country wide and country efforts to promote frequent preschool public education.
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 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 human beings to put households and kids first, no longer 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 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 installed in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of kids underneath six years ancient lived in low-income families near or beneath the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American youth and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed via the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers across the United States listed household stress, poverty, and getting to know and psychological issues as the pinnacle obstacles 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 by using humans with suitable intentions however regularly 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 capabilities 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 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 extremely good exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a personnel that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and know-how ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, said some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a appreciation shared by means of many, and internalized by using these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are appreciably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled via the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most up-to-date practitioners are concerned 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 prices from the teachers, as if to extend them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined by way of a lack of corporation and autonomy:
The have faith in my information and judgment as a trainer is gone. So are the play and mastering 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 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 known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s tons more difficult for my teenagers to turn out to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate with the aid of selecting their very own activities, collaborating in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying 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 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 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 by using the cease 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 file concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual specialists in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of present day 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 toddler poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all ranges of society to reduce, and finally quit infant poverty. To do this, we should first well known that a slender focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer resolve the complicated issues 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 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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