We encourage you to take 15 minutes to view this powerful Tedx talk from Dr. Peter Gray. "Dr. Peter Gray compellingly brings attention to the reality that over the past 60 years in the United States there has been a gradual but, overall dramatic decline in children's freedom to play with other children, without adult direction. Over this same period, there has been a gradual but overall dramatic increase in anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness, suicide, and narcissism in children and adolescents. Based on his own and others' research, Dr. Gray documents why free play is essential for children's healthy social and emotional development and outlines steps through which we can bring free play back to children's lives." Be sure to stick through to the end where he offers excellent advice on how to counteract the current trend, including: "We need to be brave enough to stand up against the continuous clamor for more schooling."
Yesterday, North Carolina's public radio station WUNC aired a story by reporter Reema Khrais. In the story Common Core is it 'Developmentally Inappropriate'? Khrais takes time to dig a little deeper into this current debate. Khrais interviewed DEY's Nancy Carlsson-Paige, along with child development expert Sam Meisels and Jere Confrey, a math education professor at NC State who worked on the math Common Core State Standards. Here is a snippet:
“You wouldn’t want to require children to count to 100, which is what one of the standards does, it’s actually ridiculous,” says Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early education expert at Lesley University.
Carlsson-Paige is referring to a kindergarten math standard requiring children to count to 100 by ones and tens. She says it's a good example of how the standards for young children are developmentally inappropriate.
“Counting is something you could memorize. You could just say names, right? But it doesn’t mean you understand numbers,” she says.
Carlsson-Paige argues that some of the standards in the early grades are just too rigid.
“You could say almost silly in the sense that they’re de-contextualized from children and even from understanding child development.”
Without that understanding, she says kids are expected to know things they simply aren’t ready for, which can make them feel “confused, scared or stupid.”
You can hear the whole story on WUNC's website. We are thankful to Khrais for digging deeper than other reporters have about the ideas behind the stance that the Common Core State Standards are inappropriate for young children. However there is much more to the debate than can be captured in five minutes. Here are some links to further resources on the subject from DEY's blog:
Common Core Pushes Abstract Topics Too EarlyCommon Core and Kindergarten Boys6 Reasons to Reject the Common Core State Standards for K- Grade 3And on a related note:
A tough critique of Common CoreEarly Learning: This is Not a Test – printed in today’s NY Times!