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 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) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised numerous necessary questions.
Should a learn about that determined a 2½-month attain in tutorial capabilities when taught in preschool have an effect on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up large chunks of playtime for tutorial educating to make such minimal good points in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas would possibly have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on tutorial skills? Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s observed that positive factors made in tutorial overall performance over young people in extra play-based Head Start packages had been commonly long gone with the aid of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as stated in the article). Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal studying coaching till age seven, indicates that beginning formal instructing of analyzing formerly has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood applications 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 recreation to another, tries out one fabric and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is no longer satisfactory play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a toddler does turn out to be extra totally engaged in an exercise 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 instructor additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math abilities into the play—for instance, through assisting a infant dictate memories about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc. The instructor can then assist the infant “read” the story at a classification meeting. With block building, the trainer and toddler may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.
This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated getting to know via play contributes to the many foundational competencies youth want for later faculty success, together with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and wonderful attitudes towards problem-solving. And, in the lengthy run, these foundational capabilities are a whole lot greater vital for how teens will experience about and function later in college than the 2½ months obtain they may reap from the early talent guidance acquired in preschool, as stated in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, possibly we have to be asking the higher questions:
- Why are years of lookup on the advantages of best play in preschool packages so regularly ignored?
- Why is it assumed that tutorial capabilities are so necessary to emphasize in preschool alternatively than a focal point on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together teens for college success in the later years?
- Why are play and learning so often treated 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” with the aid of David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 problem 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 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 more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 trainer 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 human beings to put households and youth 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 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 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 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 percent for Black and Native-American teenagers and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters. In a current survey performed through the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and studying and psychological troubles as the pinnacle limitations to pupil 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 applied via human beings with excellent intentions however frequently little formal knowledge of early child development.” Those with the information 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 pressured to do the “least harm,” as a substitute 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 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 brilliant exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex. This is a team 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 through many, and internalized by way of these in the field. Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are considerably 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 modern practitioners are involved about inserting their careers at risk. Few have been inclined to go on the file with their critique.
As I examine thru the report, I stored underlining the charges from the teachers, as if to enlarge them, to carry them off the page. They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s sturdy proof base, however they’re undermined via a lack of employer 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 terrible affect of reforms on children’s improvement and mastering can’t be overstated. Practice has emerge as extra 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 splendid early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wants of youngsters get lost:
With this intense emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized. It’s plenty more difficult for my teens to end up self-regulated learners. Children have no time to examine to self-regulate via 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 carry 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 facts 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 imperative for each and every kindergarten baby to sense welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re isolating the cream from the milk. From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ alternatively of supporting them emerge as in a position and sense profitable and section 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 quit baby poverty. To do this, we need to first renowned that a slender center of attention on enhancing faculties will now not resolve 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 properly 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 linked with any congressional member, each Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who solutions that you are antagonistic 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.”