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 fantastic 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 numerous necessary 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 applications are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as all play is not the same. When a toddler dabbles from one undertaking to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical exercise day-after-day, this is no longer fantastic play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does emerge as greater wholly engaged in an endeavor that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a integral position in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further. The trainer additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, through assisting a toddler dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the infant “read” the story at a type meeting. With block building, the trainer and infant may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.
This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of via play contributes to the many foundational abilities kids want for later college success, inclusive of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique 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 a whole lot greater vital for how young people will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months acquire they would possibly attain from the early talent education acquired in preschool, as mentioned in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we must 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 studying so frequently dealt with 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 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 forty states both have or are in the system of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have various advantages for instructing 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” through 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 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 primary 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 tested records of aiding efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal probability of each and every younger infant for an top notch education. We are specifically worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and kingdom efforts to promote conventional preschool public education.
For greater records about advocacy for fabulous 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 trainer carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate have to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American human beings to put households and adolescents first, now not 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 latest election attest, women’s ascent to electricity 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 advised individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit employer based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the issues of early childhood teachers about the influence of faculty reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their information 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 teenagers beneath 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 youngsters and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a latest survey performed via the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and gaining knowledge of and psychological troubles as the pinnacle obstacles to scholar 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 through humans with appropriate 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 educating and evaluation of slender educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” as an alternative 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 document numbers. Respect for the occupation and morale are at an all-time low, as instructors have picked up the slack for a society that starves its colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with gorgeous power devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some first-rate exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a personnel that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and knowledge ignored. “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a appreciation shared through many, and internalized via these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are substantially much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and troubled through the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most modern practitioners are involved about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the report with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I saved underlining the rates from the teachers, as if to increase them, to carry them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined with the aid of a lack of enterprise and autonomy:
The believe in my know-how 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 unique lesson and rigidly timed to suit 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 excessive emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s lots tougher for my teenagers to grow to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to analyze to self-regulate by means of selecting their very own activities, taking part in ongoing tasks 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 way of 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 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 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 record concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of modern-day 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 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 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 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 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 antagonistic 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.”
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