Recently, I wrote a post on the change in America’s Kindergartens, which charts the increased movement from blocks and sand tables, to worksheets and test prep. (If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read the post and the very thoughtful and informative comments.) While standardized testing required by No Child Left Behind doesn’t officially start until 3rd grade, the race for the score begins at age five, often putting undue stress on children, educators, administrators, and parents alike.
Now, it must be said that there are still some Kindergartens that are using play-based models, and I was encouraged to read the comments from some lucky parents and educators that are attached to such programs. At the same time, this is a real issue, and one that should be a growing concern as the new administration looks at education reform. The time to act is now.
The discussion here is not play versus academics, or giving up learning and learning readiness for play. Play-based learning in early childhood education is actually quite academic and purposeful in focus. It is a proven methodology and approach, and one that aids a child in not only academic success, but in development and socialization.
The Alliance for Childhood has just released a 8-page summary of the Kindergarten report that gives a great overview of the 72 page report. I encourage you to read it and share as appropriate. In the coming weeks one of the report’s co-authors, Ed Miller, will be guest posting here at TGSG. I look forward to continuing this discussion and learning more about how we can advocate for the nation’s youngest students.
Below you will find a PDF of “Tips for Parents: When Kindergarten Testing Is Out of Hand,” from The Alliance for Childhood. It’s a great resource, and will be helpful as you begin to navigate the school-age years.
I hope that you continue to be a part of the dialogue on education reform and play for America’s children. Now, don’t forget to go outside and play today — it’s good for grown-ups, too.
See ya outside! – The Grass Satin Guru