The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten is a very interesting article. As a Kindergarten teacher, I can relate to everything the author, Wendy Lecker, is writing about. The first part of my day is spent observing the children playing in dramatic play, playing with legos, creating with art supplies, and building with blocks. I consider this a very valuable teaching time with my students. They are learning how to use language to communicate with one another. They are learning how to use their thoughts to create something new. They are learning how to work and play well with one another. However, this is not a time that is valued much anymore in education. Teachers know how important this time of play is, but the policy makers don’t seem to understand. Once my class starts “school time,” we are back to whole group instruction and then small guided groups. They have some choice in their centers, but most choices are made by the teachers in the room. It is hard for me to teach the whole group lesson to students whom I know are on all different levels-some ready for what I am teaching and some not. But, since I have standards to meet and they will have tests to take in later years, I am forced to teach them all the same skills at the same time. I’m not sure what to do to make things better and easier for the students, but I think the policies need to change so the students can learn how they need to learn.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article.
“They (education reformers) are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn.”
“If we teach reading, writing, subtraction and addition before children are ready, they might memorize these skills, but will they will not learn or understand them. And it will not help their achievement later on.”
“Child development experts understand that children must learn what their brains are ready to absorb. Kindergarten is supposed to set the stage for learning academic content when they are older.”
“Play is essential in kindergarten.”
“The drafters of the Common Core ignored the research on child development. In 2010, 500 child development experts warned the drafters that the standards called for exactly the kind of damaging practices that inhibit learning: direct instruction, inappropriate academic content and testing.”
What do you think? Should we go back to a more play-based kindergarten or keep pushing kids as fast and as far as we can?