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.deyproject.org) we work to promote appropriate educational practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May 30th 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 located a 2½-month obtain in tutorial abilities when taught in preschool have an effect on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal positive aspects in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start packages that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that features made in tutorial overall performance over teens in extra play-based Head Start applications have been usually long past by means of 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal studying guidance till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of studying previously 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 baby dabbles from one recreation to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the identical endeavor day-after-day, this is now not satisfactory play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a infant does end up greater completely engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a imperative position in facilitating the play to assist the infant 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 assisting 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 locate the proper structure 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 ought to be asking the larger questions:
- Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
- Why is it assumed that academic skills are so important to emphasize in preschool rather than a focus on the development of the “whole child” and foundational skills that prepare children for school success in the later years?
- Why are play and getting to know so frequently 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 faculties 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 either have or are in the technique of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have numerous advantages for educating and learning, the outcomes 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 was once unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public training and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a established records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we aid the equal possibility of each younger baby for an superb education. We are in particular involved that DeVos will undermine the country wide and nation efforts to promote frequent 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
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 had been battle phrases from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. Especially with Microsoft and Amazon amongst her pinnacle marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016. But as the effects of our current election attest, women’s ascent to strength is convoluted. The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft govt runs Washington’s branch of early learning.
In the week earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, referred to as their senators, and advised contributors of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit employer based totally in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The record 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 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 know-how now face a “profound moral dilemma.” As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slender educational abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” alternatively 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 file 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 exceptional power 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 examine via the report, I stored underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined via a lack of corporation 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 severe emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s a great deal more difficult for my teenagers 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 tasks with their classmates, or enjoying creatively. They have to take a seat longer, but their interest spans are shorter.
The authors bring us into the classrooms studied by Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally representative data sets to compare 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 crucial for each and every kindergarten toddler to sense 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 an alternative of assisting them grow to be in a position and sense profitable and section of their class. Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’ It’s discrimination.
The file concludes with a sequence 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 genuine assessment, based totally on observations of children, their development, and learning. Number ten addresses toddler poverty, our countrywide stain:
Work at all stages of society to reduce, and sooner or later quit infant poverty. To do this, we need to first well known that a slim focal point on enhancing faculties will now not clear up the complicated troubles related with baby poverty.
Breaking the silence used to be by no means so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in accurate 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 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 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.”