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 terrific 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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised countless necessary questions.
Should a learn about that discovered a 2½-month achieve in educational capabilities when taught in preschool affect early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for tutorial educating 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 focal point on tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that positive factors made in tutorial overall performance over teens in extra play-based Head Start applications had been typically long gone through 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 practise till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of studying previously 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 baby dabbles from one undertaking to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical endeavor day-after-day, this is now not fine 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 indispensable position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further. The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by means of assisting a baby dictate tales about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The instructor can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a classification meeting. With block building, the instructor and toddler would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.
This kind of intentional teacher-facilitated learning through play contributes to the many foundational skills children need for later school success, including self-regulation, social skills, creativity, original thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and positive attitudes toward problem-solving. And, in the long run, these foundational skills are much more important for how children will feel about and perform later in school than the 2½ months gain they might obtain from the early skill instruction received in preschool, as reported in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we need to be asking the higher questions:
- Why are years of lookup on the advantages of nice play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial abilities are so vital to emphasize in preschool alternatively than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together teens for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and gaining knowledge of 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school privatization.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL
Secondary training 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” via David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 problem of The New Yorker.
DEY ISSUES A STATEMENT OPPOSING BETSY DEVOS’ NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION
DEY is issuing a statement in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos showed in her hearing testimony on January 17th that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She was unable to answer basic questions or address controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is against public education and, instead, wants to privatize public education. DeVos has a proven history of supporting efforts that discriminate against low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we support the equal opportunity of every young child for an excellent education. We are especially concerned that DeVos will undermine the national and state efforts to promote universal preschool public education.
For greater data about advocacy for excellent 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 instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. “The Senate need to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American humans to put households and kids first, no longer 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 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 have an effect on 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 below the poverty line in 2014. The level rises to nearly 70 percent for Black and Native-American children and 64 percent for Hispanic youngsters. In a recent survey conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers across the United States listed family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems as the top barriers to student success.
Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem. As Levin and Van Hoorn point out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and implemented by people with good intentions but often 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 tremendous exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a group 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 with the aid of many, and internalized via these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are extensively much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and troubled by using 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 document with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I stored underlining the costs from the teachers, as if to expand them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by way of a lack of 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 bad have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and gaining knowledge of 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 coronary heart of superb early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and desires of young people get lost:
With this excessive emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s lots more difficult for my teens to emerge as self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate through selecting their very own activities, taking part in ongoing initiatives with their classmates, or enjoying creatively. They have to take a seat longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors convey us into the school rooms studied via Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant records 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 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 in a position and sense profitable and phase 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 eventually stop baby poverty. To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with infant 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& 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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