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 suitable 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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a find out about that observed a 2½-month attain 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 tutorial instructing to make such minimal beneficial properties 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 tutorial competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that positive aspects made in tutorial overall performance over youngsters in greater play-based Head Start packages have been typically long gone via 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal studying training till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of analyzing 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 infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical endeavor day-after-day, this is now not fantastic play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does grow to be greater utterly engaged in an undertaking 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 trainer additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by means of assisting a infant 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 type meeting. With block building, the instructor and infant would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.
This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering via play contributes to the many foundational competencies kids want for later faculty success, which include self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and high-quality attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational abilities are a lot extra necessary for how teens will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months obtain they would possibly acquire from the early ability guidance acquired in preschool, as mentioned 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 tutorial abilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together teens for faculty success in the later years?
- Why are play and gaining knowledge of 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 colleges and college 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 growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have countless advantages for instructing and learning, the consequences 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” with the aid of 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 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 used to be unable to reply primary questions or address controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a demonstrated records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we assist the equal chance of each younger toddler for an tremendous education. We are specifically involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote regularly occurring 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 must 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 effects of our current 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 document highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the have an impact on of college reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their statistics 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 beneath the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey carried out 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 getting to know and psychological issues 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 applied by means of human beings with correct intentions however frequently 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 tutorial capabilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” as a substitute than the “most good.”
In an change 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 occupation 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 remarkable power 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 charges from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to raise them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by using a lack of business enterprise 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 influence of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has end up greater rote, and standardized, with much less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults. We’re stealing the heart of tremendous early education, as the character strengths, interests, and wishes of youngsters 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 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 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 necessary for each and every kindergarten toddler 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 youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of supporting them grow to be capable and sense profitable and phase of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The document concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of cutting-edge early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of genuine 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 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 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 identify and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.”
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