The Common Core State Standards, which were written without the input of early childhood educators or those at the university level who are knowledgeable about cognition and child development or pediatricians and other clinicians who work with young children, stand in the way of real learning for young children. This four minute video explains how the standards are an impediment to real learning in kindergarten. Please watch.
If you cannot access the video here, you can find it at https://youtu.be/DVVln1WMz0g
It is time for action. We adults can talk endlessly, but each child has only one time to be kindergartener or preschooler. For each child, we must do all that we can to provide the best school experience possible. Two organizations, Defending the Early Years and the Alliance for Children, recommend changes in policy and practice. Here are their calls to action:
1. Withdraw kindergarten standards from the Common Core so that they can be rethought along developmental lines.
2. Invest in high quality, long-term research to identify which approaches in preschool and kindergarten best help children become fluent readers by fourth grade and beyond, paying particular attention to children living in poverty.
3. Convene a task force of early childhood educators to recommend developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive guidelines for supporting young children’s optimal learning from birth to age 8.
4. End the use of high-stakes testing with children up to third grade and the use of test scores for teacher evaluation and the closing of schools. Promote the use of assessments that are based on observations of children, their development and learning.
5. Ensure a high level of professionalism for all early childhood educators. Strive to reduce the income achievement gap by placing experienced teachers in low-income communities. Invest in high-quality teacher preparation and ongoing professional development.
Read their full report on reading instruction in kindergarten and their rationale for these calls to action here.