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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised quite a few 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 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 baby 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 now not high-quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does turn out to be greater wholly engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, through assisting a baby 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 classification meeting. With block building, the instructor and toddler may discuss shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of via play contributes to the many foundational capabilities young people want for later faculty success, together with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique 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 competencies are lots greater necessary for how youth will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months obtain they would possibly achieve from the early ability guidance 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 lookup on the advantages of excellent play in preschool packages so frequently 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 mastering 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 colleges and college 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 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 announcement 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 simple questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a verified records of assisting efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal possibility of each and every younger toddler for an fantastic education. We are specifically worried that DeVos will undermine the country wide and country efforts to promote standard preschool public education.
For greater facts 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 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 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 consequences 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 participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit corporation primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the affect 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 beneath the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American kids and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a latest survey performed by using the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and mastering and psychological troubles 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 via human beings with accurate 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 instructing and evaluation of slim educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled 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 file 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 outstanding power 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 read through the report, I kept underlining the quotes from the teachers, as if to amplify them, to lift them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s robust evidence base, but they’re undermined by a lack of agency 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 particular lesson and rigidly timed to match into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The poor influence of reforms on children’s improvement and gaining knowledge of can’t be overstated. Practice has grow to be 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 splendid 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 training in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close analyzing is turning into section of the predicted talent set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place adolescents are being requested to grasp analyzing with the aid of the stop of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s critical for each kindergarten toddler to sense welcomed and included, to be section 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 assisting them end up capable and sense profitable and section 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 ranges of society to reduce, and in the end cease toddler poverty. To do this, we need to first well known that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer clear up the complicated troubles related with infant poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in suitable 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 marketing campaign and encouraging educators and different worried 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&. 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 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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