Monday, August 5, 2013

Disturbing Shift in Early Childhood Classrooms

In the Washington Post today Valerie Strauss wrote an article about trends in early childhood education titled, The Disturbing Shift Underway in Early Childhood Classrooms. Here is an excerpt:

A Connecticut-based early childhood teacher with over 30 years of experience commented:
Everything that is taught is taught [at] an earlier age. It is frightening to see what is expected of young students. I became a teacher because I loved school. I wanted children to love school as well. When I talk to young children and ask them what they like about school, so many say, ‘I hate school.’ This comes from many kindergarten children. That is very sad. If you are going to love school at any time, you should definitely LOVE being in kindergarten.

The article reports on a survey of early childhood educators done by a group called Defending the Early Years. It's not a scientific study, mind you, but it does give voice to educators who worry about the reforms brought on by current policy.

They report on shifts in early childhood education that result in children hating school. With the increased focus on "academic" skills, children exhibiting more anti-social behavior. Many public schools report large increases in serious negative behavior.

They point out (and I have seen) that privately funded schools for the richest and most privileged classes in the US provide play-based learning for young children.

Here at my kindergarten I try to keep learning as happy and as play-based as possible given the current climate of reform.

I commend the article to you. Here's the link: Disturbing Shift

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