A pre-K teacher in New York City expresses alarm at the proliferation of developmentally inappropriate mandates:
The debate is already on about what constitutes quality early childhood education and, private schools not withstanding, in NYC and thanks to NYS for including common core in pre-k, it is not a good thing.
In our continuing effort to “win the gold medal” in education, we have lost sight of what it means to be a child in the United States.
Despite volumes of research on the subject of early childhood learning, many have pushed down the curriculum into pre-k so far as to make it not a community of learners but small people struggling to memorize useless information will do nothing to enhance right brain thinking and develop children into adults who are able to be actual thinkers rather than drones.
Children develop along specific biological pathways. Some develop some parts of their development sooner than others. Children are not on a trajectory of development. Some will start speaking sooner but take a little longer to get all those gross and fine motor skills. Some will be “ready” for the challenge of a super structured classroom that we see today and others will need a more experiential environment.
I have posted before that I teach pre-k in a NYC public school and have seen the decline in developmentally appropriate practices over years.
This last year the cots were removed from my room because resting took away from instruction.
This was tried several years ago when NYS mandated no naps, fewer trips to the bathroom and less hand washing, citing that in pre-k we were losing 60% of instructional time with all those frills. Pre-K teachers ignored the mandates and eventually the state rescinded. Sadly, they are back again.
There was a time when every child in my class was celebrated for his/her personal accomplishments. Today each child is judged not by what they can do, but rather by what they can’t do. This makes no sense.
Many children in pre-k are seen as “at risk” simply because they are not meeting some arbitrary benchmark on a statistical timeline. The “suits” need to read “Leo the Late Bloomer”
I don’t want want to sound paranoid and think everything is a conspiracy, but some days it’s difficult not to think that way.
I teach in a NYC community where there is high poverty and all the collateral damage that goes with it. I think quite often my students are set up to fail so those who have big money and big titles and no educational background point and say, “see, these children are not capable of learning more than just rote learning” The “suits” can create low level employment for thousands, some of whom had more capabilities but were shuttled into a narrow educational tunnel from which escape is very difficult.
Once again, I invite those who would take away from my students all the things that their children enjoy in their schools, both public and private, to create schools that look like the schools their children attend rather than create what I sometimes call “practice prisons”.