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 fabulous 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 various vital questions.
Should a find out about that located a 2½-month acquire in tutorial abilities 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 aspects 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 educational skills? Studies of Head Start packages that taught educational capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that beneficial properties made in educational overall performance over young people in extra play-based Head Start packages had been commonly long past by way of 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as referred to in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing training till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of analyzing in the past 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 undertaking to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical pastime day-after-day, this is no longer pleasant play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does emerge as greater wholly engaged in an recreation that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a essential position in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, by using supporting a infant dictate memories about his painting and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the infant “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the trainer and baby may discuss shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities teens want for later college success, such as self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and fine attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational competencies are a whole lot extra essential for how adolescents will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months reap they would possibly achieve from the early talent guidance obtained in preschool, as said 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 research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial abilities are so necessary to emphasize in preschool instead than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together adolescents for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and learning so often treated 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 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 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” with the aid of David Denby used to be 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 used to be unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public training and, instead, needs to privatize public education. DeVos has a tested records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we guide the equal chance of each younger toddler for an wonderful education. We are specifically involved that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote well-known preschool public education.
For greater statistics 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 have been battle 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 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 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 record highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the affect 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 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 under the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American youth and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed by using the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed family stress, poverty, and studying and psychological issues as the pinnacle limitations 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 with the aid of human beings with precise intentions however regularly little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the expertise now face a “profound ethical dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the teaching and assessment of narrow academic skills at younger and younger ages, early childhood educators are forced to do the “least harm,” rather than the “most good.”
In an trade 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 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 have faith in my information and judgment as a instructor 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 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 severe emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a good deal tougher for my youth to emerge as self-regulated learners. Children have no time to examine to self-regulate by means of selecting their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or taking part in creatively. They have to take a seat longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors deliver us into the lecture rooms studied through Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant statistics units to examine public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed practise 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 ability set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place youth are being requested to grasp studying by using the stop of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s vital for each kindergarten infant to experience welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re isolating the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of assisting them end up 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 true assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses baby poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and eventually stop infant poverty. To do this, we should first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will now not clear up the complicated issues related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in right 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& 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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