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WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY
Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as posted in the Stamford Advocate, at http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Nothing-abstract-about-the-lessons-11208722.php
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.deyproject.org) we work to promote suitable academic 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 quite a few 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 exercise to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the equal undertaking day-after-day, this is no longer exceptional play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does come to be extra wholly engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a critical function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further. The trainer additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, by using supporting a infant dictate testimonies 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 category meeting. With block building, the trainer and infant may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper form for her structure.
This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated studying via play contributes to the many foundational competencies adolescents want for later faculty success, which include 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 plenty extra necessary for how teens will sense about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months obtain they would possibly achieve from the early ability training acquired in preschool, as said in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, perhaps we should be asking the bigger questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial capabilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool as an alternative than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational competencies that put together teenagers for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and mastering so regularly 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 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 forty states both have or are in the method of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have quite a few 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” 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 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 simple questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, desires 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 help the equal probability of each younger infant for an gorgeous education. We are specially worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote general preschool public education.
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website at www.deyproject.org.
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
(originally published on Jan. 19, 2017)
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 were fighting words from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. Especially with Microsoft and Amazon among her top campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the results of our recent election attest, women’s ascent to power is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft executive runs Washington’s department of early learning.
In the week earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, known as their senators, and urged contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit enterprise based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the influence of college 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 set up in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of teenagers underneath six years historical 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 studying and psychological issues 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 through human beings with excellent 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 instructing and evaluation of slim educational capabilities 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 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 colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with incredible strength committed to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some tremendous exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a body 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 understanding shared by using many, and internalized with the aid of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are appreciably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are dwelling in poverty, and troubled via the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most modern practitioners are involved about placing their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the report 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 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 bad have an effect on of reforms on children’s improvement and studying 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 exceptional early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wishes of young people get lost:
With this severe emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a lot tougher for my kids to turn out to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to study to self-regulate by means of deciding on their personal activities, taking part in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or taking part in creatively. They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors carry us into the lecture rooms studied by means of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant records units to examine public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed preparation in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close studying is turning into section of the predicted ability set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place youth are being requested to grasp analyzing by means of the give up 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 document concludes with a collection of recommendations—from the actual specialists in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of modern early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of true assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses infant poverty, our country wide stain:
Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and eventually quit infant poverty. To do this, we should first well known that a slender center of attention on enhancing colleges will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with infant poverty.
Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in correct 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 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 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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