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 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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important 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 packages are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as all play is not the same. When a infant dabbles from one endeavor to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the equal pastime day-after-day, this is now not first-rate play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does turn out to be greater completely engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a essential position in facilitating the play to assist the toddler take it further. The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, with the aid of supporting a toddler dictate testimonies 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 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 variety of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities youngsters want for later college success, consisting of 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 abilities are lots extra vital for how young people will sense about and function later in college than the 2½ months reap they may achieve from the early ability guidance obtained 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 lookup on the advantages of satisfactory play in preschool packages so frequently ignored?
- Why is it assumed that educational competencies are so necessary to emphasize in preschool alternatively 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 studying 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 faculty 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 forty states both have or are in the manner of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have countless advantages for instructing 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” 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 declaration 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 fantastic 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 have to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said. We owe it t the American humans to put households and teens 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and urged contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit company primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The file 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 records 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 young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed by way of 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 boundaries to scholar 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 understanding now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slender educational competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” as a substitute 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 document 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 colleges and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with exquisite strength 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 study thru the report, I stored underlining the rates from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to raise them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined through a lack of company and autonomy:
The have confidence in my know-how and judgment as a trainer is gone. So are the play and studying facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a precise lesson and rigidly timed to healthy into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The terrible have an impact on of reforms on children’s improvement and studying 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 notable early education, as the man or woman strengths, interests, and wants of young people 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 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 preparation in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten. Close analyzing is turning into phase of the predicted ability set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place teenagers are being requested to grasp analyzing with the aid of the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:
It’s fundamental for each kindergarten toddler to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ rather of supporting them emerge as ready 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 tiers of society to reduce, and eventually cease infant poverty. To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slim focal point on enhancing colleges will now not resolve the complicated issues related with toddler poverty.
Breaking the silence was once by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in proper 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 start 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 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 alternative 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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