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 splendid 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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a learn about that determined a 2½-month achieve in tutorial competencies when taught in preschool affect early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for tutorial educating to make such minimal positive factors in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on educational skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught tutorial competencies to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s determined that positive factors made in educational overall performance over teenagers in greater play-based Head Start applications had been usually long gone with the aid of second grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing training till age seven, indicates that beginning formal instructing of analyzing until now has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood packages 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 endeavor to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical exercise day-after-day, this is now not exceptional play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does emerge as greater absolutely engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a quintessential position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further. The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using assisting a baby dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the baby “read” the story at a type meeting. With block building, the instructor and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.
This sort of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational capabilities teens want for later faculty success, along 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 capabilities are an awful lot extra vital for how youngsters will experience about and function later in faculty than the 2½ months achieve they may gain from the early talent coaching acquired in preschool, as mentioned 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 educational competencies are so essential to emphasize in preschool as a substitute than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational competencies that put together kids 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school 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 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 using David Denby was once 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 statement 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 fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, needs to privatize public education. DeVos has a validated records of assisting efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we help the equal possibility of each younger baby for an splendid education. We are mainly involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and kingdom efforts to promote commonplace preschool public education.
For extra records about advocacy for terrific 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 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 document highlights the worries 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 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 factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and carried out by way of human beings with desirable intentions however frequently little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the know-how 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 compelled to do the “least harm,” instead 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 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 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 gaining knowledge of can’t be overstated. Practice has turn out to be 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 terrific early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and desires of youth 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 convey 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 evaluate 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 studying is turning into phase of the anticipated ability set of 5-year-olds, and the stress has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place adolescents are being requested to grasp analyzing with the aid of the quit 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 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 degrees of society to reduce, and in the end cease baby poverty. To do this, we have to first renowned that a slim center of attention on enhancing colleges will now not remedy 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 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 affirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education commence on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave issues 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 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 adversarial to Mrs. DeVos’ affirmation as Secretary of Education. They will ask for your title and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.”
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