Our principal concern is defending children’s right to play, grow, and learn in an era of so-called standards and accountability. For years we have worked with organizations like the Alliance for Childhood, Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children's Entertainment (TRUCE), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Concerned Educators Allied for a Safe Environment (CEASE), and others to promote play-based early education and common-sense policymaking. In 2010 we joined hundreds of other educators in issuing a joint statement of concern about the Common Core Standards for the early grades (see http://www.edweek.org/media/joint_statement_on_core_standards.pdf.)
Now we are seeing a new wave of standards and testing about to wash over preschool. Though it has become fashionable to give lip service to the importance of children’s play, the reality is that play continues to disappear in many schools, even for the youngest children.
Enough is enough. Defending the Early Years was launched to pursue these goals:
- to track the real effects of these new preschool standards;
- to promote appropriate guidelines for early childhood educators;
- to mobilize the early childhood community to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.