WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY
Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as published 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 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) now not solely left us puzzled however raised various vital 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 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 endeavor to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical undertaking day-after-day, this is no longer great play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a baby does grow to be greater utterly engaged in an undertaking that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative position in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further. The instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, with the aid of supporting a toddler dictate tales about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The trainer can then assist the toddler “read” the story at a category meeting. With block building, the trainer and toddler may talk about shapes, as she tries to discover the proper structure for her structure.
This type of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know via play contributes to the many foundational capabilities adolescents want for later college success, consisting of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic 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 competencies are an awful lot greater necessary for how young people will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months attain they would possibly gain from the early talent practise obtained in preschool, as said in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we have to be asking the better 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 as an alternative than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together young people for faculty success in the later years?
- Why are play and mastering so regularly handled 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 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 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 means of David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 trouble 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 was once unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, wishes 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 baby for an amazing education. We are specifically involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote everyday 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 trainer 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 teens first, now 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, referred to as their senators, and advised participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organisation primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the issues 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 statistics 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 installed in research. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of teenagers below six years historic lived in low-income families near or beneath the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American adolescents and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey carried out 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 pupil 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 know-how now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slender tutorial competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” instead 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 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 faculties and communities, and blames them for all its ills. But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with extremely good electricity committed to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some fantastic 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 appreciation shared by means of many, and internalized by way of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are drastically much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and stricken through the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most recent practitioners are involved about placing their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file 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 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 intense emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s an awful lot tougher for my kids to come to be self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate by using selecting their very own 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 by means of Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant facts units to examine 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 quintessential for each and every kindergarten baby 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 youngsters who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as a substitute of assisting them come to be in a position and experience profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The record concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room. The first calls for the withdrawal of modern-day early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of actual assessment, primarily based 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 cease infant poverty. To do this, we need to first well known that a slender focal point on enhancing faculties will now not remedy the complicated issues related with baby poverty.
Breaking the silence was once in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in excellent 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 worries 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.”