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 suitable educational 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) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised numerous essential 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 child dabbles from one activity to another, tries out one material and then the next, and/or does the same activity day-after-day, this is not quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a child does become more fully engaged in an activity that develops over time and is meaningful play, teachers have a vital role in facilitating the play to help the child take it further. The teacher also makes decisions about how to integrate more formal early literacy and math skills into the play—for instance, by helping a child dictate stories about his painting and pointing out some of the keywords and letters involved, etc. The teacher can then help the child “read” the story at a class meeting. With block building, the teacher and child might discuss shapes, as she tries to find the right shape for her structure.
This form of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies youth want for later college success, which include 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 a good deal extra vital for how teens will experience about and operate later in college than the 2½ months obtain they would possibly acquire from the early ability coaching obtained in preschool, as pronounced 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 first-class play in preschool packages so regularly ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial capabilities are so necessary to emphasize in preschool as an alternative than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational abilities that put together teens for faculty success in the later years?
- Why are play and getting to know so frequently 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 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 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 confirmed in her listening to testimony on January seventeenth that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She used to be unable to reply primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public schooling and, instead, wishes to privatize public education. DeVos has a verified records of helping efforts that discriminate in opposition to low-income communities and communities of color. At DEY, we assist the equal chance of each younger infant for an wonderful education. We are specially worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote regularly occurring preschool public education.
For greater statistics about advocacy for gorgeous public education, go to DEY’s internet site 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 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, known as their senators, and advised participants of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit business enterprise primarily based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The report highlights the concerns of early childhood teachers about the impact of school reforms on low-income children. Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their data 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 hooked up 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 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 regularly 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 tutorial capabilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” as a substitute 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 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 top notch electricity devoted to defeating her.
Early childhood teachers—with some excellent exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a body 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 through many, and internalized with the aid of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are appreciably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools. Many are residing in poverty, and troubled with the aid of the toxic stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are involved about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.
As I study thru the report, I stored underlining the fees from the teachers, as if to extend them, to elevate them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined by means of a lack of organisation and autonomy:
The believe in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone. So are the play and mastering facilities in my classroom. Everything is supposed to be structured for a particular lesson and rigidly timed to in shape into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.
The bad affect of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as 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 wants of youth 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 youth to emerge as self-regulated learners. Children have no time to research to self-regulate by using deciding on their personal activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or taking part in creatively. They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.
The authors deliver us into the lecture rooms studied via Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant information 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 and every kindergarten infant to experience welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re keeping apart the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of supporting them grow to be ready and experience 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 stages of society to reduce, and subsequently give up toddler poverty. To do this, we need to first well known that a slim center of attention on enhancing colleges will no longer resolve the complicated troubles related with infant poverty.
Breaking the silence was once in no way so sweet. Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in true 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 involved 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& 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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