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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a find out about that determined a 2½-month obtain in educational competencies when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal positive factors 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 tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s determined that good points made in tutorial overall performance over teens in greater play-based Head Start applications had been commonly long gone by using 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal studying preparation till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of analyzing in the past has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood applications are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as all play is not the same. When a infant dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical endeavor day-after-day, this is no longer first-class play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does emerge as extra absolutely engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, via assisting a baby dictate tales 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 category 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 gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities young people want for later college success, together with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and fantastic attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are a lot extra necessary for how adolescents will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months reap they may attain from the early talent guidance obtained in preschool, as mentioned in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we must be asking the greater questions:
- Why are years of lookup on the advantages of high-quality play in preschool applications so regularly 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 gaining knowledge of 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 schooling 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 forty states both have or are in the technique of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have various advantages for educating and learning, the effects can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance to a current 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 showed in her hearing testimony on January 17th that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She was unable to answer basic questions or address controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is against public education and, instead, wants to privatize public education. DeVos has a proven history of supporting efforts that discriminate against low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we support the equal opportunity of every young child for an excellent education. We are especially concerned that DeVos will undermine the national and state efforts to promote universal 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 trainer 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 kids first, no longer billionaires.”
Those had 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 effects of our current 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and urged individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit business enterprise primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the have an effect on 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 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 understanding now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slim tutorial competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” as a substitute 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 tremendous exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a team of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and understanding ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a grasp shared via many, and internalized by using these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are considerably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and troubled by using the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are involved about placing their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the document with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I saved underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to extend them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, but they’re undermined with the aid of a lack of organization 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 poor have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and gaining knowledge of can’t be overstated. Practice has end up 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 gorgeous early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and desires of youngsters get lost:
With this intense emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a lot more difficult for my adolescents to turn out to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate via 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 carry us into the school rooms studied through 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 coaching in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close analyzing is turning into phase of the anticipated talent set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place teens are being requested to grasp studying by way of the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s necessary for each kindergarten infant to experience welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as an alternative of supporting them end up equipped and sense profitable and phase of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations—from the real experts in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of current early childhood standards and mandates. Another urges the use of authentic assessment, based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses child poverty, our national 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 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 confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education begin on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave concerns 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&. 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 hostile 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.”