Read their blog post on the PEN website by clicking here.
sBackpack Full of Cash was shown at the recent Progressive Education Network Conference in Boston. Following the showing, DEY's Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Denisha Jones discussed their reactions to the film.
Read their blog post on the PEN website by clicking here.
by Susan Linn (published in the 9-27-17 issue of the Los Angeles Times)
DEY's Senior Advisor, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and her son, Matt Damon, participated in the recent screening of Backpack Full of Cash. The film explores the growing privatization of public schools and the resulting impact on America's most vulnerable children. Filmed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Nashville and other cities, it takes viewers through the tumultuous 2013-14 school year, exposing the world of education "reform" where public education - starved of resources and awash in standardized testing - hangs in the balance.
The Boston premier screening, sponsored by Citizens for Public Schools,, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and Defending the Early Years, was was shown to a capacity audience at the Wheelock College Family Theater on September 13. After the film, there was a roundtable discussion, featuring Dr. Carlsson-Paige, Damon (a product of the Boston Public Schools), CCFC's Josh Golin, and Boston Teachers' Union President, Jessica Tang, and Boston student activist, Luis Navarro.
To host a screening at your school, organization, or community, click here.
"As teachers, we are fighting for kids to play." - Bianca Tanis, Special Education Kindergarten Teacher
"Policymakers' de-emphasis on play causes us to begin to look at the children as mini-adults, instead of children who are already working hard at what they are doing..." - Sara Sheppard, First Grade Teacher
"We need to speak up. It's our job. We are the voices of these children." - Matt Elkin, First Grade Teacher
At DEY, we want to congratulate this group of New York State early childhood teachers who released this fantastic video. These educators use their professional knowledge and experience to expertly articulate ideas about young children, child development and the importance of play.
BOSTON (August 16, 2017) – Defending the Early Years announced today a new partnership with the Progressive Education Network (www.progressiveeducationnetwork.org). Together, the two organizations will herald the practice of progressive pedagogy for the next generation of students, schools and democracy.
Inspired by the early pioneers of the progressive education movement, The Progressive Education Network (PEN) was founded in 2005 to support children both as learners and as citizens, and promotes diversity, equity, and justice in our schools and society.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with PEN, whose century-long legacy promotes a vision of progressive pedagogy,” said Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Co-Director of Defending the Early Years. “PEN’s commitment to supporting joyful and meaningful learning spaces, as well as diversity, and social justice in a child-centered environment, is directly in line with DEY’s guiding principles.”
“DEY is an essential go-to resource for anyone who cares about young children’s development. Their mission to amplify issues and best practices in early childhood education, coupled with their commitment to creating resources that support joyful, meaningful learning, are all reasons why we are so excited for this connection,” said Theresa Collins, Board President of PEN. “DEY’s work affirms a principle that is central to progressive education: to uphold and support students’ deep intellectual development and healthy identity formation—as developing individuals, as active learners within a school community, and as engaged citizens in the broader world.”
Founded in 2012, Defending the Early Years is committed to supporting and nurturing the rights and needs of young children and promoting best practices in early childhood education in the current context of misguided policies and mandates. DEY is a non-profit project of the Progressive Education Network. - a 501(c) 3 educational organization. For more information visit www.deyproject.org or follow on Twitter @DEY_Project.
DEY provides mini-grants of up to $500 to help foster advocacy work in communities across the country. DEY's latest grantee is Indiana's Purdue University Northwest and its Center for Early Learning. Read about their "Full Steam Ahead" Conference here.
Read Wendy Locker's insightful article, as published in the Stamford Advocate, at http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Nothing-abstract-about-the-lessons-11208722.php
why play is vital in preschool: dey's response to the new york times report supporting flash cards over free play
DEY Senior Advisor and Wheelock College professor, Dr. Diane Levin, writes DEY's response:
At Defending the Early Years (DEY; www.deyproject.org) we work to promote appropriate educational practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May 30th article, “Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools” (NY Times, 5/30/17) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.
Should a study that found a 2½-month gain in academic skills when taught in preschool influence early childhood policy and practice? How can one argue for giving up big chunks of playtime for academic teaching to make such minimal gains in academic performance—with little consideration of what other areas might have lost out because of the focus on academic skills? Studies of Head Start programs that taught academic skills to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s found that gains made in academic performance over children in more play-based Head Start programs were generally gone by second grade (i.e., “fade out effect,” as mentioned in the article). Furthermore, research in many European countries, which do not start formal reading instruction until age seven, shows that starting formal teaching of reading earlier has little benefit.
Play-based early childhood programs are all-too-often misunderstood. Just having play in a preschool is not enough, as all play is not the same. When a child dabbles from one activity to another, tries out one material and then the next, and/or does the same activity day-after-day, this is not quality play or, necessarily, even play. And, even when a child does become more fully engaged in an activity that develops over time and is meaningful play, teachers have a vital role facilitating the play to help the child take it further. The teacher also makes decisions about how to integrate more formal early literacy and math skills into the play—for instance, by helping a child dictate stories about his painting and pointing out some of the key words and letters involved, etc. The teacher can then help the child “read” the story at a class meeting. With block building, the teacher and child might discuss shapes, as she tries to find the right shape for her structure.
This kind of intentional teacher-facilitated learning through play contributes to the many foundational skills children need for later school success, including self-regulation, social skills, creativity, original thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and positive attitudes toward problem solving. And, in the long run, these foundational skills are much more important for how children will feel about and perform later in school than the 2½ months gain they might obtain from the early skill instruction received in preschool, as reported in the New York Times article.
Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, perhaps we should be asking the bigger questions: