Wake Up Call

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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 206
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 2:45 pm
PostPost subject: Wake Up Call
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More Work, Less Play in Kindergarten
By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 23, 2007; Page A01

The DA Pulse
The Pentagon Takes a Page from the K-12 Playbook
This week the United States Department of Defense decided to block access to eleven photo and video sharing sites on the World Wide Web.
by Gary Stager

How these two article connected?

They both report on the deepening divide between the official power grid of American education and those on the receiving end where policy impact is felt.

If you think that the erosion of play referred to in the Washington Post article on kindergarten is merely just happenstance, a small price to pay on the way to increased scores and successful learning, you are deluding yourself and placing the well being of another generation of children at risk. Sure, we can sit those kids down and get them to read. But they are not parrots in a cage of literacy. They are children whose minds grow dull on a diet of strict, force-fed learning.

As institutions consolidate their power, they grow humorless and restrictive. Denying people access is a sure fire way to show what you're really made of. Don't forget that other things denied and all but banned in our new learning culture are play and, in some cases, creative teaching as in 'stop the creativity and just teach.'

What is the cost of this overheated investment in academics? Kindergarten is the place where kids grow socially, where they connect, develop people skills like sharing, self-expression, compromise. It's bad enough that these skills and experiences are not carried forward but are quickly replaced by academic pushing and pressure. To deny kids the birthright of play in the name of academics is a cynical bait and switch that leaves kids isolated, disconnected, compartmentalized where they stay throughout their academic careers.

Meanwhile, the lack of innovation and creative, self-start thinking is bemoaned by government, business and industry. When will we learn that scores do not signify real learning and empowerment; that they are another means of control and coercion which some kids will learn to shed in spite of their schooling, but many others will continue to wear all their lives. When will educators learn that by giving up a certain kind of control they gain more power in the hearts and minds of children.
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Joined: 07 Jun 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Iowa

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:52 am
PostPost subject: wake up call
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I agree with your commentary on the two articles you posted. As a preschool teacher I have often commented on how what I am doing in preschool is what Kindergarten used to be. I have also been distressed to see how over the years what I am expected to "teach" my preschoolers before they go to Kindergarten has become more and more. And now it is interesting to see that there is an effort to make sure that preschool is more play based which I agree with totally, but the problem is that once the children reach Kindergarten all that play goes away. I have no quarrels with the government telling me that preschool should be more play based but I do have problems with the fact that what happens in Kindergarten and the rest of elementary school does not fit with the play based education happening in preschool. If we are going to make play more of the basis in preschool the rest of the education system needs to change too or we will lose the children anyway. Developmentally Appropriate Practice has become a key in preschool education which I support completely, but when will it continue on to Elementary school.
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