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robertogreco : kindergarten   53

Yong Zhao "What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education" - YouTube
"Proponents of standardized testing and privatization in education have sought to prove their effectiveness in improving education with an abundance of evidence. These efforts, however, can have dangerous side effects, causing long-lasting damage to children, teachers, and schools. Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas, will argue that education interventions are like medical products: They can have serious, sometimes detrimental, side effects while also providing cures. Using standardized testing and privatization as examples, Zhao, author of the internationally bestselling Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, will talk about his new book on why and how pursuing a narrow set of short-term outcomes causes irreparable harm in education."
yongzhao  2018  schools  schooling  pisa  education  testing  standardizedtesting  standardization  china  us  history  testscores  children  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  sideeffects  privatization  tims  math  reading  confidence  assessment  economics  depression  diversity  entrepreneurship  japan  creativity  korea  vietnam  homogenization  intolerance  prosperity  tolerance  filtering  sorting  humans  meritocracy  effort  inheritance  numeracy  literacy  achievementgap  kindergarten  nclb  rttt  policy  data  homogeneity  selectivity  charterschools  centralization  decentralization  local  control  inequity  curriculum  autonomy  learning  memorization  directinstruction  instruction  poverty  outcomes  tfa  teachforamerica  finland  singapore  miltonfriedman  vouchers  resilience  growthmindset  motivation  psychology  research  positivepsychology  caroldweck  intrinsicmotivation  choice  neoliberalism  high-stakestesting 
6 weeks ago by robertogreco
Teach Kids When They’re Ready | Edutopia
"Our friend Marie’s daughter Emily just entered kindergarten. Emily went to preschool, where the curriculum revolved around things like petting rabbits and making art out of macaroni noodles. Emily isn’t all that interested in learning how to read, but she loves to dance and sing and can play with Barbies for hours.

Emily’s older sister, Frances, was reading well before she started kindergarten, and the difference between them worried Marie. Emily’s grandparents thought it was a problem, too, and hinted that perhaps Marie should be reading to Emily more often. When Marie talked to another mom about it, her friend shared the same concern about her own two daughters, wondering if it was somehow her fault for not reading to her younger daughter enough. Would these younger siblings be behind the moment they started kindergarten?

This scenario drives us crazy because it’s grounded in fear, competition, and pressure, not in science or reality. Not only are parents feeling undue pressure, but their kids are, too. The measuring stick is out, comparing one kid to another, before they even start formal schooling. Academic benchmarks are being pushed earlier and earlier, based on the mistaken assumption that starting earlier means that kids will do better later.

We now teach reading to 5-year-olds even though evidence shows it’s more efficient to teach them to read at age 7, and that any advantage gained by kids who learn to read early washes out later in childhood.

What was once advanced work for a given grade level is now considered the norm, and children who struggle to keep up or just aren’t ready yet are considered deficient. Kids feel frustrated and embarrassed, and experience a low sense of control if they’re not ready to learn what they’re being taught.

The fact is that while school has changed, children haven’t. Today’s 5-year-olds are no more fundamentally advanced than their peers were in 1925, when we started measuring such things. A child today can draw a square at the same age as a child living in 1925 (4 and a half), or a triangle (5 and a half), or remember how many pennies he has counted (up to 20 by age 6).

These fundamentals indicate a child’s readiness for reading and arithmetic. Sure, some kids will jump the curve, but children need to be able to hold numbers in their head to really understand addition, and they must be able to discern the oblique line in a triangle to recognize and write letters like K and R.

The problem is that while children from the 1920s to the 1970s were free to play, laying the groundwork for key skills like self-regulation, modern kindergartners are required to read and write.

Brain development makes it easier to learn virtually everything (except foreign languages) as we get older. Work is always easier with good tools. You can build a table with a dull saw, but it will take longer and be less pleasant, and may ingrain bad building habits that are hard to break later on.

One of the most obvious problems we see from rushed academic training is poor pencil grip. Holding a pencil properly is actually pretty difficult. You need to have the fine motor skills to hold the pencil lightly between the tips of the first two fingers and the thumb, to stabilize it, and to move it both horizontally and vertically using only your fingertips. In a preschool class of 20 we know of in which the kids were encouraged to write much too early, 17 needed occupational therapy to correct the workarounds they’d internalized in order to hold a pencil.

Think of it: 85 percent of kids needed extra help, parents spent extra money, and parents and kids felt stressed because some adult thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be swell if we taught these 4-year-olds to write?” without any regard to developmental milestones.

We see this early push all the way through high school. Eighth graders take science classes that used to be taught to ninth graders, and kids in 10th grade read literature that used to be taught in college. In Montgomery County, outside Washington, DC, the school district attempted to teach algebra to most students in eighth grade rather than ninth grade, with the goal of eventually teaching it to most kids in seventh grade. It was a disaster, with three out of four students failing their final exam. Most eighth graders don’t have sufficiently developed abstract thinking skills to master algebra.

Historically, kids started college in their late teens because they were ready; while there have always been exceptions, on the whole 14-year-olds weren’t considered developmentally ready for rigorous college work. Ironically, in the attempt to advance our kids, our own thinking about these issues has regressed.

Ned fields requests from many parents who want their kids to start SAT prep in the ninth grade. Ned tells them that it’s a mistake to spend their kid’s time and their money for him to teach them things that they will naturally learn in school. It’s far better to wait for them to develop skills and acquire knowledge at school, and then to add to that with some test preparation in their junior year.

Starting test prep too early is not just totally unnecessary, it is actively counterproductive. It’s like sitting your 14-year-old down to explain the intricacies of a 401(k) plan. It’s not going to register.

The central, critical message here is a counterintuitive one that all parents would do well to internalize: Earlier isn’t necessarily better; and likewise, more isn’t better if it’s too much."
children  education  schools  readiness  unschooling  deschooling  kindergarten  reading  learning  teaching  schooling  writing  acceleration  policy  curriculum  parenting  pressure  williamstixrud  nedjohnson 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Harvard EdCast: Lifelong Kindergarten | Harvard Graduate School of Education
"The concept of kindergarten — as a place for young children to learn by interacting with materials and people around them — has existed for over 200 years, but never has the approach been so suited to the way the world works as it is today, says Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab.

“That approach to kindergarten is really aligned with the needs of today’s society," says Resnick, citing the need to adapt to the speed at which things change in the world. "As kids in the traditional kindergarten were playfully designing and creating things, they were developing as creative thinkers…. That’s exactly what we need.”

Being given the room to explore, experiment, and express oneself is vital to becoming a creative thinker — and to the learning process as a whole — says Resnick, author of Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play. If people aren't encouraged in their creativity at an early age, and if this isn't nutured throughout their schooling, then they aren't as prepared to deal with the unexpected when it arises.

“We’re trying to spread that approach to learners of all ages," says Resnick, who also leads the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at MIT. "We want to take what’s worked best in kindergarten and here at the Media Lab and provide opportunities for all kids of all ages to be able to explore and experiment and express themselves in that same spirit.”

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Resnick talks about the importance of nurturing creativity in learning and explains why kindergarten is the greatest invention of the last millennium."

[See also:
"Mitchel Resnick - MIT Media Lab: Lifelong Kindergarten" (2014)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRxD-pe3PN0

"Helping Kids Develop as Creative Thinkers" (2017)
https://vimeo.com/244986026 ]
mitchresnick  lifelongkindergarten  mitmedialab  2017  interviews  kindergarten  play  projects  projectbasedlearning  passion  collaboration  experimentation  creativity  medialab  scratch  making  pbl  teaching  sfsh  learning  howweteach  howwelearn  risks  risktaking  education  schools  lcproject  openstudioproject  curiosity  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  mindstorms  writing  coding  programming  leaning  creating  lego  reasoning 
december 2017 by robertogreco
4 Things Worse Than Not Learning To Read In Kindergarten | HuffPost
"Limited time for creative play. Young children learn by playing. They learn by digging and dancing and building and knocking things down, not by filling out piles of worksheets. And they learn by interacting with other children, solving problems, sharing and cooperating, not by drilling phonics. Mrs. Gantt and Mrs. Floyd created fabulous centers and units that allowed children to learn about everything from houses to trucks to pets to oceans. And they snuck in some reading and math skills that the children didn’t even notice, because they were so busy playing and creating! Teachers today, however, often have to limit (or even eliminate) time for centers and units, because the academic requirements they are forced to meet don’t allow time for creative learning.

Limited physical activity. Few things are more counterproductive than limiting recess and other types of physical play time for children. Children learn better when they move. Parents and teachers know this intuitively, but research also confirms it. Children who have more opportunities to run around and play have better thinking skills and increased brain activity. And don’t assume that young children are naturally active and are getting all of the exercise they need; researchers have found that children as young as three and four are surprisingly inactive. Yet many schools are limiting or even eliminating recess, even for very young children.

Teaching that focuses on standards and testing. Teachers are increasingly under pressure to prepare their students to perform on standardized tests. This means that their focus is shifting from teaching children in ways that match their development and learning styles to “teaching to the test.” As one teacher reported, “I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing and scoring young children...” This shift in focus means that teachers have less time to nurture and develop children as lifelong learners, because they’re required to focus their efforts on standards that are unrealistic for many children.

Frustration and a sense of failure. Children know when they aren’t meeting the expectations of teachers and other adults. What they don’t know, however, is that those expectations often make no sense. And because they don’t know that, they experience frustration and a sense of failure when they don’t measure up. So the boy who thrived in his experiential preschool, but struggles in his academic -focused kindergarten may become frustrated to the point that he “hates school.” And the girl who can’t sit still for 30 minutes and fill out worksheets knows that she’s disappointing her teacher, but doesn’t know that the task isn’t appropriate for her. Which means that many normal children are becoming frustrated - and are being labelled - by an entirely unrealistic system. As one report has bluntly stated, “Most children are eager to meet high expectations, but their tools and skills as learners as well as their enthusiasm for learning suffer when the demands are inappropriate.”"
kindergarten  reading  schools  education  sfsh  literacy  children  2017  play  health  psychology  testing  failure  frustration  readiness  gayegrooverchristmus 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Berkeley Forest School | Berkeley, California
"Berkeley Forest School is based on fundamental humanitarian principles, as well as respect for children and their ability to construct their own knowledge.

Children have the right to play, explore, and take risks, while conscious of their connection to the invigoratingly complex natural world we share.

Teachers support the rich wilderness of the children's imagination by facilitating their efforts in inquiry, investigation, and analysis.

We do not teach children what to think.
We cultivate experiences where children learn what it is to think for themselves: to develop their own ideas, and to test those ideas."

[See also:

"Forest Kindergartens Push Back Against Academic Focus For Young Kids"
https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2014/11/14/forest-kindergarten-play-nature-based-alternative/

"Best Options for a Forest School in the San Francisco Bay Area"
https://medium.com/@one_preschool/best-options-for-a-forest-school-in-the-san-francisco-bay-area-be8a3a7cba3c ]
schools  berkeley  forestschools  lianachavarín  heathertaylor  kindergarten  preschool 
may 2017 by robertogreco
VTN | Vo Trong Nghia Architects - Farming Kindergarten
"The Kindergarten for 500 preschool children, situated next to a big shoe-factory, is a prototype of the sustainable education space in tropical climate. The building is designed for the children of factory workers within low-budget.

The concept of building is “Farming Kindergarten” with continuous green roof, providing food and agriculture experience to Vietnamese children, as well as safe outdoor playground."

[via: http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/126422/farming-kindergarten/

"Vietnam is historically an agricultural country. As it moves to a manufacturing based economy, the country is facing changes as a toll is being taken on the environment. Increased droughts, floods and salinization jeopardize food supplies, while numerous motorbikes cause daily congestion and air pollution in the cities. Rapid urbanization deprives Vietnamese children of green lands and playgrounds, and thus their relationship with nature.

Farming Kindergarten is a challenge to counter these issues. Located next to a big shoe factory and designed for 500 children of the factory's workers, the building is conceived as a continuous green roof, providing a food and agricultural experience to children, as well as an extensive playground to the sky.

The green roof is a triple-ring shape drawn with a single stroke, encircling three courtyards inside as safe playgrounds. Recently, an experimental vegetable garden was realized on its top. Five different vegetables are planted in 200 square-meter garden for agriculture education.

All functions are accommodated under this roof. As the roof lowers to the courtyard it provides access to the upper level and vegetable gardens on top—the place where children learn the importance of agriculture and recover a connection to nature.

Environmental strategies
The building is made of a continuous narrow strip with two side operable windows which maximize cross ventilation and natural lighting. Additionally, architectural and mechanical energy-saving methods are comprehensively applied including, but not limited to: green roof as insulation, green facade as shading and solar water heating. These devices are visibly designed and play an important role in the children’s sustainable education. Factory wastewater is recycled to irrigate greenery and flush toilets.

As a result, the kindergarten operates without air conditioners, despite being located in a harsh tropical climate. According to a post-occupancy record issued 10 months after completion, the building saves 25% of energy and 40% of fresh water compared to baseline building performance.

Cost-efficiency
The building is designed for low-income factory workers' children, therefore construction budget is quite limited. Therefore, the combination of local materials (ex. bricks, tiles) and low-tech construction methods are applied, which also help minimize the environmental impact as well as promote local industry."]

[see also: https://www.dezeen.com/2014/11/11/farming-kindergarten-vo-trong-nghia-architects-vietnam-vegetable-garden/
http://www.archdaily.com/566580/farming-kindergarten-vo-trong-nghia-architects ]
kindergarten  gardening  farming  education  schools  schooldesign  architecture  vietnam  votrongnghia  agriculture 
april 2017 by robertogreco
Teacher Tom: "But How Do They Learn To Read?"
""But how do they learn to read?"

It's the question most often asked by doubters when first learning about play-based education. Most people "get" that play is important for young children, at least to a certain degree, they're not ogres, but they just can't get their minds around the idea that most children, when left to their own devices, will actually learn to read without adult intervention.

First of all, from a purely developmental perspective, preschool aged children should not be expected to be reading. This isn't to say that some preschoolers don't teach themselves to read. I've known readers as young as two. And at any given moment, there will be a handful of four and five-year-olds at Woodland Park who are reading books on their own because that's how human development works: some children start speaking at three months and some barely utter a word until after they've celebrated their fourth birthday; some are walking by six months and some aren't up on their feet until they're closer to two. Parents might worry, but the truth is that it all falls well within the range of "normal." The research on reading indicates that the natural window for learning to read extends to as late as 11 years old!

Of course, in today's America, a child who is not reading by the time he is seven or eight is thought to have some sort of learning disability when the fact is that he is perfectly normal. A couple years back a University of Cambridge team reviewed all the available research on the topic and concluded that "formal" schooling should be delayed until children are at least seven, and that, indeed, pushing it earlier is damaging children's "academic" achievement, especially when it comes to reading.
Studies have compared groups of children . . . who started formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7 . . . (T)he early introduction of formal learning approaches to literacy does not improve children's reading development, and may be damaging. By the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups, but the children who stared at 5 developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later.

Their recommendation is that the best "academic" education for children under seven is the sort of "informal, play-based" environment we offer at Woodland Park because that is how the human animal is designed to build the foundation for all future learning.

The sickening thing is that today's kindergartens and preschools are charging pell-mell in the wrong direction:
A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

With the advent of the Common Core federal public school curriculum in the US (and it is a curriculum despite it's advocates' insistence that they are merely "standards") with its narrow focus on literacy, mathematics, and testing, it has gotten even worse since 2006. Indeed:
Last year, average math scores . . . declined; reading scores were flat or decreased compared with a decade earlier.

We are proving the research: we are damaging our children. This is why I remain so consistently opposed to what is happening in our public schools. By law I'm a mandatory reporter of child abuse in my state. This might not fit the legal definition, but it definitely fits the moral one.

That still begs the original question: how will they learn to read?

As I learned from Carol Black's brilliant essay entitled A Thousand Rivers, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1439, very few people could read. In fact, reading was primarily the domain of the clergy who needed the skill to read and create Bibles. But the printing press suddenly made printed matter widely available. With no notion of formal literacy education, Europeans were left to learn to read on their own, passing on the knowledge from one person to the next, from one generation to the next.

Literacy rates steadily climbed for the next couple hundred years, then surged around the time of the American Revolution when Thomas Payne's pamphlet Common Sense became a runaway hit, selling over a half million copies and going through 25 printings in its first year. It's estimated that 2.5 million colonists read it, an astronomical number for the time. And it's not easy reading. Nevertheless, historians credit this viral document with inspiring the 13 American colonies to ultimately declare their independence from British rule.

People wanted to read, they needed to read, so they learned to read, which is why literacy rates in those original 13 colonies were actually higher than those we see today in in our 50 states. A similar thing has happened, albeit at a faster pace, with computer technology. I have a distinct memory of Dad buying an Apple II+, a machine that came with no software. Instead it came with thick instruction manuals that taught us how to write our own programs. You could take classes on "how to work your computer." Today, our two-year-olds are teaching themselves as these technology skills have gone viral. The idea of a computer class today is laughable, just as a reading class would have been laughable in 1776.

And just as "walking" or "talking" classes would be laughable to us today, so too should this whole nonsense of "reading" classes. Yet shockingly, we continue to go backwards with literacy to the point that most of us seem to think that it's necessary that children spend days and years of their lives at earlier and earlier ages, being drilled in a utilitarian skill that past generations just learned, virally, over the natural course of living their lives. No wonder children hate school. No wonder they are bored and stressed out.

Certainly, there are children in our world who are "at risk" for not learning to read, including those with actual learning disabilities, as opposed to the manufactured ones we are currently slapping on normal children who are simply taking a little longer to getting around to reading. And for those children, as well as for those who are being raised in illiterate households, intervention may be necessary. But for the overwhelming majority of our children, the greatest literacy challenge they face is our obsessive rush for more and more earlier and earlier. We are, in our abject ignorance, our refusal to actually look at the evidence, teaching our children to hate reading, which is in my view a crime not only against children, but against all humanity."
children  reading  play  literacy  pedagogy  teaching  schools  carolblack  unschooling  deschooling  play-basededucation  kindergarten  sfsh  history  gutenberg  thomaspayne  tomhobson  walking  howwelearn  necessity  coercion  learningdisabilities  talking  education 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Delaying kindergarten until age 7 offers key benefits to kids — study - The Washington Post
"A new study finds strong evidence that delaying kindergarten by a year provides mental health benefits to children, allowing them to better self-regulate their attention and hyperactivity levels when they do start school.

The study, titled “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health” and published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that these benefits — which are obviously important to student achievement — persist at least until age 11. Stanford Graduate School of Education Prof. Thomas Dee, who co-authored the study with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research, was quoted in a Stanford release as saying:
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

The researchers used data on tens of thousands of students from a mental-health screening survey used to evaluate children across Denmark (and in clinical and academic settings in other countries) and compared it Denmark’s census, according to the Stanford release. Youngsters who were deemed to have better self-control over attention and activity had higher assessment scores.

In Denmark, children generally enroll in kindergarten during the calendar year in which they turn 6. In the United States, too, kindergartners are typically 5 or 6 years. The researchers wrote in the study that they found “that a one-year delay in the start of school dramatically reduces inattention/hyperactivity at age 7 …. a measure of self regulation with strong negative links to student achievement.” They also found this this “large and targeted effect persists at age 11″ and affects both boys and girls.

There is a loud debate in the United States and other developed countries about the proper age to start formal schooling — with ever-younger students being put into school with formal academic work. Many early childhood experts have expressed concern about forcing very young children to sit and do academic work, arguing that kids learn best through structured play. Dee noted:
“It’s not just a question of when do you start kindergarten, but what do you do in those kindergarten classes? If you make kindergarten the new first grade, then parents may sensibly decide to delay entry. If kindergarten is not the new first grade, then parents may not delay children’s entries as much.”

Indeed, a study released early this year found that the requirement in the Common Core State Standards that kindergartners read could harm the reading development of some kids. It says:
When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.

In Finland and some other developed countries, formal academic education doesn’t start until the age of 7, when children are deemed to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge (though students in Finland have had access to high-quality preschool, which would affect their performance in kindergarten).

Many U.S. parents hold their children back a year — especially boys — so that they start kindergarten at age 6 rather than 5 to give them a chance to mature. The paper says that about 20 percent of kindergarten students are now 6 years old:
This “lengthening of childhood” reflects in part changes in state laws that moved forward the cutoff birth date at which 5 year olds were eligible for entering kindergarten (Deming and Dynarski, 2008). However, most of the increase in school starting ages is due to academic “redshirting”; an increasingly common decision by parents to seek developmental advantages for their children by delaying their school entry (i.e., the “gift of time”).

There have been early studies looking at the same or similar issue, and the results have been mixed. But Dee was quoted as saying:

“This is some of the most convincing evidence we’ve seen to support what parents and policymakers have already been doing – choosing to delay kindergarten entry.”

You can read the paper here [https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/gift-time-school-starting-age-and-mental-health ]."
kindergarten  education  children  redshirting  2015  unschooling  deschooling  finland  schools  hyperactivity  inattention  attention  selfregulation  denmark  mentalhealth  thomasdee  hanshenriksievertsen  behavior 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Kindergarten Has Become the New First Grade - The Atlantic
"Pendulum shifts in education are as old as our republic. Steven Mintz, a historian who has written about the evolution of American childhood, describes an oscillation in the national zeitgeist between the notion of a “protected” childhood and that of a “prepared” one. Starting in the early 2000s, though, a confluence of forces began pushing preferences ever further in the direction of preparation: the increasing numbers of dual-career families scrambling to arrange child care; a new scientific focus on the cognitive potential of the early years; and concerns about growing ability gaps between well-off and disadvantaged children, which in turn fueled the trend of standards-based testing in public schools.

Preschool is a relatively recent addition to the American educational system. With a few notable exceptions, the government had a limited role in early education until the 1960s, when the federal Head Start program was founded. Before mothers entered the full-time workforce in large numbers, private preschools were likewise uncommon, and mainly served as a safe social space for children to learn to get along with others.

In the past few decades, however, we have seen a major transfer of child care and early learning from home to institution: Nearly three-quarters of American 4-year-olds are now in some kind of nonfamily care. That category spans a dizzying mix of privately and publicly funded preschool environments, including family-run day cares, private preschools in church basements, and Head Start programs in public elementary schools, to name a few. Across all of them, the distinction between early education and “official” school seems to be eroding.

When I survey parents of preschoolers, they tend to be on board with many of these changes, either because they fear that the old-fashioned pleasures of unhurried learning have no place in today’s hypercompetitive world or because they simply can’t find, or afford, a better option. The stress is palpable: Pick the “wrong” preschool or ease up on the phonics drills at home, and your child might not go to college. She might not be employable. She might not even be allowed to start first grade!

Media attention to the cognitive potential of early childhood has a way of exacerbating such worries, but the actual academic consensus on the components of high-quality early education tells another story. According to experts such as the Yale professor Edward Zigler, a leader in child-development and early-education policy for half a century, the best preschool programs share several features: They provide ample opportunities for young children to use and hear complex, interactive language; their curriculum supports a wide range of school-readiness goals that include social and emotional skills and active learning; they encourage meaningful family involvement; and they have knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers.

As an early-childhood educator, I’ve clocked many hours in many preschool classrooms, and I have found that I can pretty quickly take the temperature from the looks on kids’ faces, the ratio of table space to open areas, and the amount of conversation going on in either. In a high-quality program, adults are building relationships with the children and paying close attention to their thought processes and, by extension, their communication. They’re finding ways to make the children think out loud.

The real focus in the preschool years should be not just on vocabulary and reading, but on talking and listening. We forget how vital spontaneous, unstructured conversation is to young children’s understanding. By talking with adults, and one another, they pick up information. They learn how things work. They solve puzzles that trouble them. Sometimes, to be fair, what children take away from a conversation is wrong. They might conclude, as my young son did, that pigs produce ham, just as chickens produce eggs and cows produce milk. But these understandings are worked over, refined, and adapted—as when a brutal older sibling explains a ham sandwich’s grisly origins.

Teachers play a crucial role in supporting this type of learning. A 2011 study in the journal Child Development found that preschool teachers’ use of sophisticated vocabulary in informal classroom settings predicted their students’ reading comprehension and word knowledge in fourth grade. Unfortunately, much of the conversation in today’s preschool classrooms is one-directional and simplistic, as teachers steer students through a highly structured schedule, herding them from one activity to another and signaling approval with a quick “good job!”

Consider the difference between a teacher’s use of a closed statement versus an open-ended question. Imagine that a teacher approaches a child drawing a picture and exclaims, “Oh, what a pretty house!” If the child is not actually drawing a house, she might feel exposed, and even if she is drawing a house, the teacher’s remark shuts down further discussion: She has labeled the thing and said she likes it. What more is there to add? A much more helpful approach would be to say, “Tell me about your drawing,” inviting the child to be reflective. It’s never possible to anticipate everything a small person needs to learn, so open-ended inquiry can reveal what is known and unknown. Such a small pedagogic difference can be an important catalyst for a basic, but unbounded, cognitive habit—the act of thinking out loud.

Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s far more valuable than most of the reading-skills curricula we have been implementing: One meta-analysis of 13 early-childhood literacy programs “failed to find any evidence of effects on language or print-based outcomes.” Take a moment to digest that devastating conclusion.

I was recently asked to review a popular preschool curriculum that comes with a big box of thematic units, including lists of words and “key concepts” that children are supposed to master. One objective of the curriculum’s ocean unit, for example, is to help preschoolers understand “the importance of the ocean to the environment.” Children are given a list of specific terms to learn, including exoskeleton, scallop shell, blubber, and tube feet. At first glance, this stuff seems fun and educational, but doesn’t this extremely narrow articulation of “key concepts” feel a little off? What’s so special about blubber, anyway? Might a young child not want to ponder bigger questions: What is water? Where do the blue and green come from? Could anything be more beautiful and more terrifying than an ocean?

The shift from an active and exploratory early-childhood pedagogy to a more scripted and instruction-based model does not involve a simple trade-off between play and work, or between joy and achievement. On the contrary, the preoccupation with accountability has led to a set of measures that favor shallow mimicry and recall behaviors, such as learning vocabulary lists and recognizing shapes and colors (something that a dog can do, by the way, but that is in fact an extraordinarily low bar for most curious 4-year-olds), while devaluing complex, integrative, and syncretic learning.

Last year, I observed some preschoolers conversing about whether snakes have bones. They argued at length among themselves, comparing the flexible serpentine body with dinosaur fossils and fish, both of which they had previously explored. There was no clear consensus on how these various creatures could contain the same hard skeletons, but I watched, transfixed, as each child added to the groundwork another had laid. The teacher gently guided the group as a captain might steer a large ship, with the tiniest nudge of the wheel. Finally, a little boy who had seen a snake skeleton in a museum became animated as he pantomimed the structure of a snake’s spine in a series of karate chops: “One bone, one bone, one bone,” he informed his friends. “I think we’re all going to have to do a lot more research,” the teacher replied, impressed. This loosely Socratic method is a perfect fit for young minds; the problem is that it doesn’t conform easily to a school-readiness checklist.

The academic takeover of American early learning can be understood as a shift from what I would call an “ideas-based curriculum” to a “naming-and-labeling-based curriculum.” Not coincidentally, the latter can be delivered without substantially improving our teaching force. Inexperienced or poorly supported teachers are directed to rely heavily on scripted lesson plans for a reason: We can point to a defined objective, and tell ourselves that at least kids are getting something this way.

But that something—while relatively cheap to provide—is awfully thin gruel. One major study of 700 preschool classrooms in 11 states found that only 15 percent showed evidence of effective interactions between teacher and child. Fifteen percent.

We neglect vital teacher-child interactions at our peril. Although the infusion of academics into preschool has been justified as a way to close the achievement gap between poor and well-off children, Robert Pianta, one of the country’s leading child-policy experts, cautions that there is “no evidence whatsoever” that our early-learning system is suited to that task. He estimates that the average preschool program “narrows the achievement gap by perhaps only 5 percent,” compared with the 30 to 50 percent that studies suggest would be possible with higher-quality programs. Contrasting the dismal results of Tennessee’s preschool system with the more promising results in places such as Boston, which promotes active, child-centered learning (and, spends more than twice the national average on preschool), lends further credence to the idea that preschool quality really does matter.

It’s become almost a cliché to look to Finland’s educational system for inspiration. As has … [more]
education  pedagogy  learning  literacy  listening  preschool  kindergarten  teaching  howweteach  howwelearn  finland  erikachristakis  2015  schools  edreform  conversation  vocabulary  cv  unschooling  deschooling  schooliness  directinstruction  schoolreadiness 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Why Kindergarten in Finland Is All About Playtime (and Why That Could Be More Stimulating Than the Common Core) - The Atlantic
"Forget the Common Core, Finland’s youngsters are in charge of determining what happens in the classroom."



"In the study, the percentage of kindergarten teachers who reported that they agreed (or strongly agreed) that children should learn to read in kindergarten greatly increased from 30 percent in 1998 to 80 percent in 2010.

Bassok and her colleagues found that while time spent on literacy in American kindergarten classrooms went up, time spent on arts, music, and child-selected activities (like station time) significantly dropped. Teacher-directed instruction also increased, revealing what Bassok described as “striking increases in the use of textbooks and worksheets… and very large increases in the use of assessments.”

But Finland—a Nordic nation of 5.5 million people, where I’ve lived and taught fifth and sixth graders over the last two years—appears to be on the other end of the kindergarten spectrum. Before moving to Helsinki, I had heard that most Finnish children start compulsory, government-paid kindergarten—or what Finns call “preschool”—at age 6. And not only that, but I learned through my Finnish mother-in-law—a preschool teacher—that Finland’s kindergartners spend a sizable chunk of each day playing, not filling out worksheets.

Finnish schools have received substantial media attention for years now—largely because of the consistently strong performance of its 15-year-olds on international tests like the PISA. But I haven’t seen much coverage on Finland’s youngest students.

So, a month ago, I scheduled a visit to a Finnish public kindergarten—where a typical school day is just four hours long."



"When children play, Osei Ntiamoah continued, they’re developing their language, math, and social-interaction skills. A recent research summary “The Power of Play” supports her findings: “In the short and long term, play benefits cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development…When play is fun and child-directed, children are motivated to engage in opportunities to learn,” the researcher concluded.

Osei Ntiamoah’s colleagues all seemed to share her enthusiasm for play-based learning, as did the school’s director, Maarit Reinikka: “It’s not a natural way for a child to learn when the teacher says, ‘Take this pencil and sit still.’” The school’s kindergarten educators have their students engage in desk work—like handwriting—just one day a week. Reinikka, who directs several preschools in Kuopio, assured me that kindergartners throughout Finland—like the ones at Niirala Preschool—are rarely sitting down to complete traditional paper-and-pencil exercises.

And there’s no such thing as a typical day of kindergarten at the preschool, the teachers said. Instead of a daily itinerary, two of them showed me a weekly schedule with no more than several major activities per day: Mondays, for example, are dedicated to field trips, ballgames, and running, while Fridays—the day I visited—are for songs and stations.

Once, Morning Circle—a communal time of songs and chants—wrapped up, the children disbanded and flocked to the station of their choice: There was one involving fort-making with bed sheets, one for arts and crafts, and one where kids could run a pretend ice-cream shop. “I’ll take two scoops of pear and two scoops of strawberry—in a waffle cone,” I told the two kindergarten girls who had positioned themselves at the ice-cream table; I had a (fake) 10€ bill to spend, courtesy of one of the teachers. As one of the girls served me—using blue tack to stick laminated cutouts of scoops together—I handed the money to her classmate.

With a determined expression reminiscent of the boys in the mud with their shovels, the young cashier stared at the price list. After a long pause, one of her teachers—perhaps sensing a good opportunity to step in—helped her calculate the difference between the price of my order and the 10€. Once I received my change (a few plastic coins), the girls giggled as I pretended to lick my ice cream.

Throughout the morning I noticed that the kindergartners played in two different ways: One was spontaneous and free form (like the boys building dams), while the other was more guided and pedagogical (like the girls selling ice cream).

In fact, Finland requires its kindergarten teachers to offer playful learning opportunities—including both kinds of play—to every kindergartner on a regular basis, according to Arja-Sisko Holappa, a counselor for the Finnish National Board of Education. What’s more, Holappa, who also leads the development of the country’s pre-primary core curriculum, said that play is being emphasized more than ever in latest version of that curriculum, which goes into effect in kindergartens next fall.

“Play is a very efficient way of learning for children,” she told me. “And we can use it in a way that children will learn with joy.”

The word “joy” caught me off guard—I’m certainly not used to hearing the word in conversations about education in America, where I received my training and taught for several years. But Holappa, detecting my surprise, reiterated that the country’s early-childhood education program indeed places a heavy emphasis on “joy,” which along with play is explicitly written into the curriculum as a learning concept. "There's an old Finnish saying,” Holappa said. “Those things you learn without joy you will forget easily.”

* * *

After two hours of visiting a Finnish kindergarten, I still hadn’t seen children reading. I was, however, hearing a lot of pre-literacy instruction sprinkled throughout the morning—clapping out syllables and rhyming in Morning Circle, for example. I recalled learning in my master’s degree courses in education that building phonemic awareness—an ability to recognize sounds without involving written language—was viewed as the groundwork of literacy development.

Just before lunch, a kindergarten teacher took out a basket brimming with children’s books. But for these 5- and 6-year-olds, “reading” looked just like how my two toddlers approach their books: The kindergartners, sitting in different corners of the room, flipped through pages, savoring the pictures but, for the most part, not actually deciphering the words. Osei Ntiamoah told me that just one of the 15 students in her class can currently read syllable by syllable. Many of them, she added, will read by the end of the year. “We don’t push them but they learn just because they are ready for it. If the child is willing and interested, we will help the child.”

There was a time in Finland—in the not so distant past—when kindergarten teachers weren’t even allowed to teach reading. This was viewed as the job of the first-grade teacher. But, as with America, things have changed: Nowadays, Finnish teachers are free to teach reading if they determine a child is—just as Osei Ntiamoah put it—“willing and interested” to learn.

Throughout Finland, kindergarten teachers and parents meet during the fall to make an individualized learning plan, shaped by each child’s interests and levels of readiness, which could include the goal of learning how to read. For Finnish kindergartners who seem primed for reading instruction, Holappa told me it’s still possible to teach them in a playful manner. She recommended the work of the Norwegian researcher Arne Trageton—a pioneer in the area of play-based literacy instruction."
literacy  reading  finland  education  schools  children  parenting  play  timwalker  kindergarten  daphnabassok  brunobettelheim  oseintiamoah  joy  sebastiansuggate  nancycarlsson-paige  arnetrageton  waldorfschools 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Better Space, better education? Japan's alternative kindergarten (Learning World: S5E41, 1/3) - YouTube
"The architecture of this Japanese kindergarten is striking: it has an oval shape which frames a garden, trees are growing through the roof of the building. Slides lead the way into the garden and animals are part of the establishment. There are no internal walls, so the children hear the noises from neighbouring classes, helping them hone their concentration skills. But what is the purpose of this odd architecture?

Its architect, Takaharu Tezuka, has designed it to fulfill the need for doing the same thing over and over again. Through repetition, children investigate the world: the roof serves as a running track, as a place to interact with the trees growing below. It offers a room to the children where they can learn about the risks of growing up...learn more about this special kindergarten!

What role do trees, plants and outdoor spaces play in a child’s cognitive development? https://youtu.be/YTL3IJ4dXQ0
Can exceptional architectural design make a difference to the way we learn? https://youtu.be/unSw_u7KEfQ "
kindergarten  japan  tezukaarchitects  architecture  design  learning  howwelearn  schools  schooldesign  2015  children  fujikindergarten  takaharutezuka 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Our RISD — Playing for Keeps
"Children in eastern China are taking the notion of learning through play to new heights, according to Associate Professor of Industrial Design Cas Holman, who has been collaborating with educator Cheng Xueqin to design tools for kids that complement her vision for learning. Over the past 14 years, Cheng has developed a comprehensive play-driven educational model for China that is being used to incredible effect in 120 public preschools in Anji County.

“Anji Play is about joy and agency and allowing kids to develop as whole people,” says Holman. “The play is completely child-directed; teachers don’t even prompt them about what to build. When playtime is over, the children draw ‘play stories’ to visually communicate what they made and what questions they were trying to answer.”

Holman observed the system in action during a trip to China last month and plans to return in August to work with factory directors on creating a core set of high-quality materials – ladders, barrels, blocks and the like – with consistent specs. She’s also working with Cheng’s team to help adapt the model for use in the US and other western countries.    

The approach to play at these Chinese preschools is one Holman has long advocated for through her own work. As she notes in this newly posted opinion piece for Fast Company, “The ideal toy for a child is not a toy at all but something they’ve appropriated for play.”

[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/120218237 ]

[See also: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3048508/the-case-for-letting-kids-design-their-own-play ]
play  children  china  kindergarten  schools  education  casholman  chengxuegin  design  schooldesign  toys  student-directedlearning  reggioemilia  via:ablerism  roleplaying  preschool  anjiplay  anji 
july 2015 by robertogreco
HIBINOSEKKEI + youji no shiro display gridded façade on hanazono kindergarten
"keeping to the local architectural styles of the miyakojima region- an island 2000km away from tokyo- this is where the hanazono kindergarten and nursery is located. designed by HIBINOSEKKEI and youji no shiro, the building has been characterized by its subtropical, oceanic climate as well as its surrounding context. immersing the children with the outdoors and encouraging creativity are two main elements underlined throughout the nursery. the ground floor, open, breazy and like a studio, is dedicated to art and simultaneously promotes comfortable ventilation. the kindergarten features courtyards and terraces allowing the children to integrating learning, playing and eating outside whenever it is possible."
hibinosekkei  youjinoshiro  architecture  design  schooldesign  education  kindergarten  japan  children  littoralzone  indooroutdoor  schools  liminalspaces  liminality 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Takaharu Tezuka: The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen | Talk Video | TED.com
"At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world's cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids."
takaharutezuka  tezukaarchitects  architecture  2007  schooldesign  design  kindergarten  japan  tokyo  schools  education  children  fujikindergarten 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Kindergarten Student-Led Conference on Vimeo
"Kindergartner, Trinity, shares her academic progress, supported by evidence from her portfolio, with her parents and teacher, Jennifer Rocker, at Delaware Ridge Elementary School in Kansas City, KS.

This video is one of 27 videos that accompany Expeditionary Learning's new book, Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools through Student-Engaged Assessment. For more information visit: http://elschools.org/leadersoftheirownlearning."

[Lots more in this Vimeo account:
https://vimeo.com/elschools

For example:

"Austin's Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work - Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback" https://vimeo.com/38247060

"Inspiring Excellence Part 4: Using Models and Critiques to Create Works of Quality" https://vimeo.com/85779855

"Praise, Question, Suggestion" https://vimeo.com/83340732 ]
student-ledconferences  teaching  learning  education  tcsnmy  kindergarten  critique  assessment  howweteach  howwelearn 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Born to think and learn | Deborah Meier on Education
"The real “crisis” within schools today is that we are in the process of literally throwing away the carefully constructed ideas that flowed from these (and other) giants’ work. The garden for children (kindergarten) was a late 19h century invention that we are fast abandoning. The ideas behind such “gardens” are not only wise, but critical to imagining that democracy needn’t be utopian—that it’s possible with “ordinary” people who are all really quite extraordinary. Reminder: democracy was “invented” as an answer to “who is accountable.” But “for what” faces each generation anew."
deborahmeier  education  learning  progressiveeducation  democracy  history  accountability  2013  stem  purpose  civics  garystager  seymourpapert  constructivism  kindergarten 
july 2013 by robertogreco
tezuka architects: ring around a tree
"japanese practice tezuka architects has completed 'ring around a tree', a dual-purpose annex building at fuji kindergarden - designed by the duo in 2007 - in tachikawa, tokyo, japan. sited adjacent to the existing school, the structure functions as both english-language classrooms and as a waiting station for school buses."
japan  tokyo  tezukaarchitects  fujikindergarten  trees  design  architecture  schooldesign  landscape  2011  kindergarten  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007 
august 2011 by robertogreco
New Ways of Designing the Modern Workspace - NYTimes.com
"Adjustable desks, foldout benches & louvered shades have their place but…furniture is not the problem…But in the same way that bamboo floors, hybrid SUVs and eco-couture haven’t done much to curb carbon emissions, designing (& buying) more stuff for offices, no matter how sleek or sustainable it is, likely won’t help reset the culture of work.

Design itself is the problem because it is being used to solve the wrong ones…has to expand beyond noodling with the cubicle. I’m willing to bet that almost any office worker would happily swap Webcam lighting…for solutions to more pressing work issues like…burnout or fear of losing health coverage…

Two other factors often undervalued (and often ignored) in the workplace? Family and time…

We shouldn’t be rethinking the cubicle or corner office but rather rethinking all aspects of work…"
psychology  work  design  officedesign  allisonarieff  cubicles  classrooms  schooldesign  sustainability  productivity  life  families  parenting  time  workplace  workspace  nathanshedroff  furniture  homes  housing  babysitting  childcare  flexibility  coworking  efficiency  yiconglu  serbanionescu  jimdreilein  justinsmith  theminerandmajorproject  architecture  interiors  interiordesign  environmentaldesign  environment  broodwork  florianidenburg  jingliu  commonground  eames  froebel  kindergarten  andrewberardini  larrysummers  rachelbotsman  creativity  innovation  2011  autonomy  learning  workspaces  classroom 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Ring Around a Tree - Architecture - Domus [Looks like something new at Fuji Kindergarten.]
"In “Philosophical Investigations,” Wittgenstein writes that what children and foreigners have in common is the absence of knowledge of language & a set of codified rules. This leads them—in the first instance—to learn through the senses and the body. To give the children more freedom to move around the school, the directors of the Fuji Kindergarten requested Tezuka to design spaces without furniture: no chairs, desks or lecterns. As a result, “Ring Around a Tree” offers an architecture where there are no measures taken to constrain space, in order to liberate the body.

The space created by Tezuka seems to have just two floors, but for the children the building has 6 floors w/ volumes that are one meter high. The compressed spaces, which can only be reached by crawling, further the freedom of movement & ability to use the body as a means of learning."

[Via: http://bobulate.com/post/7560943445 ]
[More about Fuji Kindergarten: http://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:fujikindergarten ]
fujikindergarten  tokyo  schooldesign  wittgenstein  space  tezukaarchitects  body  architecture  design  kindergarten  japan  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007  bodies 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Buckminster Fuller - Wikipedia
"He attended Froebelian Kindergarten. Spending much of his youth on Bear Island, in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine, he had trouble with geometry, being unable to understand the abstraction necessary to imagine that a chalk dot on the blackboard represented a mathematical point, or that an imperfectly drawn line with an arrow on the end was meant to stretch off to infinity. He often made items from materials he brought home from the woods, and sometimes made his own tools. He experimented with designing a new apparatus for human propulsion of small boats.

Years later, he decided that this sort of experience had provided him with not only an interest in design, but also a habit of being familiar with and knowledgeable about the materials that his later projects would require. Fuller earned a machinist's certification, and knew how to use the press brake, stretch press, and other tools and equipment used in the sheet metal trade."
design  technology  art  architecture  future  buckminsterfuller  childhood  froebel  kindergarten  learning  materials  systemsthinking  biography  maine  bearisland  penobscotbay  geometry  math  mathematics  toolmaking  designthinking 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Study raises questions about full-day kindergarten
"Full-day kindergarten may be having a negative effect on the learning and personal development of some children, according to new research.

Early results from a pilot study focusing on two classrooms in southwestern Ontario revealed that teachers in a regular school setting were often caught in the tension that exists between meeting curriculum expectations and teaching to student interests.

The researchers argue that academic goals, centered on results and preparation for standardized tests in later years, are taking away from play-based learning that builds upon what the child already knows."
play  curriculum  emergentcurriculum  kindergarten  pedagogy  teaching  learning  longterm  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  schooliness  standardizedtesting  testing  conflict  results  2011 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Virtues Of Play | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Nietzsche said it best: “The struggle of maturity is to recover the seriousness of the child at play.” While parents might be tempted to enroll their kids in preschools that seem the most “academic,” that’s probably a mistake. There is nothing frivolous about play."
education  play  children  psychology  games  reggioemilia  montessori  kindergarten  preschool  unschooling  deschooling  jonahlehrer  nietzsche  learning  academics  reading  math  tcsnmy  schools  damagedbyschools  cognition  parenting 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Salottobuono > projects > KINDERGARTEN
"Instead of a large building for childhood we propose a children’s city. A micro-urbanization made by solid and empty spaces, enclosed and open air areas in the nature…

Fragmentation: The total surface required is distributed in single pavilions. These tiny units better relate to the dimension of the first small form of society that the child finds in the section. Instead of gravitating around a central enclosed space of distribution, the pavilions institute delicate relationships of proximity and distance, mitigating the impact of the building through a recognizable urban form…

Every class is an autonomous section, provided with all the equipment to be a self-sufficient pavillion. It hosts all the necessary facilities for a small community of 30 children and their assistants"
kindergarten  schooldesign  autonomy  classroom  classrooms  education  lcproject  schools  tcsnmy  saluttobuono 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Reading at Some Private Schools Is Delayed - NYTimes.com
"When Drake Roth was 18 months old, he would read the names of characters in “Thomas the Tank Engine” videos from his playpen as they flashed across the screen. At 2, he was onto cereal box labels; at 3, his preschool’s director told his mother to watch what reading material was within his reach on the kitchen table.

But in kindergarten at Ethical Culture School, a private institution on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Drake seemed to be losing ground, with assignments like learning a letter of the week. The Roths did what parents lucky enough to gain a toehold in an elite school might consider unthinkable: They pulled him out, anxious that despite Ethical Culture’s top reputation, the philosophy that the school shares with a number of its peers — that kindergarten is more of a social year, not an academic one — was not letting Drake bloom."
learning  reading  education  teaching  schools  curriculum  privateschools  racetonowhere  competition  literacy  kindergarten  elementary  2011  tcsnmy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Kids aged 3-6 pretty much the same for last 85 years « Computing Education Blog
[See also: http://www.hepg.org/hel/article/479 ]

"Isn’t it great that somebody is doing studies like these? The Gesell Institute for Human Development has assessed 3-6 year olds since 1925, and finds that kids in 2010 behave pretty the same — despite the intensity of new kindergarten curriculum. The article really argues that all the training in new kindergartens, on numbers and letters, leads to more memorization but no more learning. The bottomline is that play-based curriculum seems to still work the best for these ages."
children  play  learning  kindergarten  schools  schooling  curriculum  wastedenergy  reggioemilia  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  education  memorization  emergentcurriculum  toshare 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Youngest in class get ADHD label - USATODAY.com
"Nearly 1 million children may have been misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, not because they have real behavior problems, but because they're the youngest kids in their kindergarten class, researchers say.<br />
<br />
Kids who are the youngest in their grades are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children, according to a study out today from Michigan State University, given exclusively to USA TODAY. A second study, by researchers at North Carolina State University and elsewhere, came to similar conclusions. Both are scheduled for publication in the Journal of Health Economics."
adhd  brain  children  kindergarten  psychology  schools  age  schooling  education 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Public School Nightmare
"Bertrand Russell once observed that American schooling was among the most radical experiments in human history, that America was deliberately denying its children the tools of critical thinking. When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That's if you want to teach them to think. There is no evidence that this has been a State purpose since the start of compulsion schooling."
johntaylorgatto  bertrandrussell  education  history  unschooling  deschooling  frederichfroebel  kindergarten  schools  schooling  us  criticalthinking  tcsnmy  compulsory  responsibility  privacy  lcproject  solitude  respect  children 
august 2010 by robertogreco
On Education - Equity of Test Is Debated as Children Compete for Gifted Kindergarten - NYTimes.com
"That approach [decentralized admissions process] was criticized as vulnerable to political manipulation & racial favoritism, since districts could take into account increasing diversity in making selections.

“The process was fractured & inconsistent, & programs were too often gifted in name only,” the city education chancellor, Joel I. Klein, said in an e-mail message.

In 2008, Mr. Klein made the score on a citywide standardized test the sole criteria for admission. Mr. Klein is a leading testing proponent for everything from grading schools to rating teachers, & he predicted that a citywide test would be a more equitable solution.
Since then, there have been two major developments, neither looking much more equitable than the old system. Blacks & Hispanics in gifted kindergarten programs dropped to 27% this year under test-only system, from 46% under the old system (66% of city kindergartners are black or Hispanic).

And a test-prep industry for 4-year-olds has burgeoned."
testing  education  learning  kindergarten  diversity  race  standardizedtesting  gifted  testprep  money  class  influence  nyc  schools  sorting  tracking  favoritism  assessment  evaluation  equity  havesandhavenots 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Redesigning Education: Why Can't We Be in Kindergarten for Life? | Co.
"The kindergarten classroom is the design studio. All of the learning activities that take place inside...is freakishly similar to the everyday environment of my design studio in the "real world." In an architectural design studio, we work as an interdisciplinary global team to solve the complex problems of the built environment in a variety of different cultural contexts. We do this most effectively through storytelling--sharing personal experiences--w/ support of digital media & tools. A variety of activities--reflective & collaborative, right-brain & left-brain--happen simultaneously in an open environment. Like the design studio, the kindergarten environment places human interaction above all else."

[from a series: http://www.fastcodesign.com/users/tle ]
kindergarten  lifelongkindergarten  tcsnmy  design  classroomasstudio  schooldesign  learning  lcproject  howwework  howwelearn  cv  teaching  student-centered  learner-centered  toshare  topost  thirdteacher  trungle  reggioemilia 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Private School Screening Test Loses Some Clout - NYTimes.com
"At least two schools in Manhattan have dropped the exam as a requirement for admission starting this fall, bucking a trend of more widespread use of such tests. More broadly, a powerful coalition of New York schools is contending that pretest preparation, which many believe skews the results, has become so widespread as to cast doubt on the value of the test."
admissions  kindergarten  psychology  testing  standardizedtesting  intelligence  privateschools  erb  tcsnmy 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Redesigning Education: Why Can't We Be in Kindergarten for Life? | Fast Company
"The learner-centered paradigm should extend beyond the kindergarten classroom. Unfortunately, most educational institutions follow a model that creates an impersonal environment where adults, teaching, and authority are at the center. The studio-like environment of the kindergarten classroom succumbs to a rigid structure of disconnected subject-based classrooms and curricula. Naturally, the physical environment parallels this transition, moving from an open, multi-zone learning environment to a prototypical, teacher-centric mode of direct instruction. The collaborative student-teacher team and its dynamic atmosphere are replaced with the "sage-on-the-stage," front-teaching wall model."
tcsnmy  learning  schools  schooling  lcproject  classroomasstudio  teaching  kindergarten  lifelongkindergarten  creativity  collaboration  classrooms  mit  education  design  student-centered  sageonthestage  thirdteacher  unschooling  deschooling  reggioemilia  classroom 
may 2010 by robertogreco
One size doesn’t fit all - The Boston Globe
"The No Child Left Behind Act, with its high-stakes testing beginning in 3rd grade, has led many schools, especially in poor communities, to start the drill and testing regime in kindergarten. This shift, even before the release of the new standards, has eroded the foundation young children need for school success. We won’t make genuine progress in closing the achievement gap in our nation’s schools until we address the underlying inequities that are its root cause. Imposing more standards and tests is a misplaced, misleading, even harmful approach. If these standards are imposed, we will see a continuing achievement gap and new levels of stress and failure among young children. Worst of all, we will have missed an opportunity to give our nation’s children the best possible education, the one they deserve and the one our future depends on."
standards  rotelearning  education  play  schools  experientiallearning  kindergarten  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  schooling  learning  assessment  achievementgap  reading  loveoflearning  children  directinstruction  rttt  nclb  policy  rote 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Who Turns the Lights Off When We Leave Kindergarten? by Tom King | Teacher Reboot Camp
"Why can’t powerful model of kindergarten be extended into upper grades?...good question. & far too few “good” answers. Among biggest obstacles is we group learners by how old they are instead of what needs are. Followed closely by the fact that there’s little chance to play & learn in groups, talking is not tolerated, naps are not encouraged when your brain is tired, there’s no milk & cookies, & learning is way too often boring & no longer fun. After kindergarten, labels get hung on learners like an albatross & too many of them give up & become negative self-fulfilling prophecies...What can we do? Bring some of the fun back to learning. Break some of the rules….especially the ones you think you can get away with: more collaborative group work, answer fewer questions but ask more, let them teach you, give them the tools to show what they know.
kindergarten  agesegregation  learning  schools  schooling  fun  education  unschooling  deschooling  tcsnmy  lcproject  collaboration  teaching 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Start Science Sooner: Scientific American
"Good science education at the earliest grades is supremely important, but in most classrooms it gets short shrift. Studies have found that children in kindergarten are already forming negative views about science that could cast a shadow across their entire educational careers. When researchers interviewed kindergartners from typical classrooms, barely a third of the children showed any knowledge of science, whether from school or other sources. Many children said that science was for older kids and adults, not kindergartners like them. They talked of science being about magic potions or dangerous chemicals; they said science is hard, science is not interesting, and “I am not good at science.” Ask a room of five-year-olds to draw a scientist, and you will likely get lots of pictures of white-coated men in laboratories. Furthermore, even before first grade, fewer girls than boys say they like science."
tcsnmy  education  learning  kindergarten  science  elementary  teaching  schools  curriculum 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Forest Kindergarten at Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs - NYTimes.com
"Schools around the country have been planting gardens and planning ever more elaborate field trips in hopes of reconnecting children with nature. The forest kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs is one of a handful in the United States that are taking that concept to another level: its 23 pupils, ages 3 ½ to 6, spend three hours each day outside regardless of the weather. This in a place where winter is marked by snowdrifts and temperatures that regularly dip below freezing."
education  teaching  kindergarten  environment  outdoors  nature  green  forest  environmentaleducation  unschooling  deschooling  exploration  children 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The Way We Live Now - Kindergarten Cram - NYTimes.com
"Jean Piaget famously referred to “the American question,” which arose when he lectured in this country: how, his audiences wanted to know, could a child’s development be sped up? The better question may be: Why are we so hellbent on doing so? Maybe the current economic retrenchment will trigger a new perspective on early education, something similar to the movement toward local, sustainable, organic food. Call it Slow Schools." There it is. I'm not the only one using the 'slow schools' phrase.
sloweducation  slow  slowschools  learning  kindergarten  children  schooling  us  society  excess  speed  academics  tcsnmy  homeschool  unschooling  deschooling  competition  wisdom  lcproject  homework 
may 2009 by robertogreco
1602 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"I didnt go to kindergarten. I refused to go because it seemed too boring compared to reading books. Instead my parents made a deal with a local manhwabang (manga rental shop) so that i can have unlimited access to their books. I went everyday for one or two books to bring home so my elder sisters could read them to when they returned from school. It continued for more than a year till i had to go to school and learned to play with other kids..."
comics  reading  youngheejung  children  learning  kindergarten  unschooling 
november 2008 by robertogreco
REFERENCE LIBRARY: Renate Müller, Animals
"Renate Müller's leather and jute animals were designed in the early 1970s for H. Josef Leven, a manufacturer of therapeutic and developmental toys for the disabled. Success was short lived, the parent company was nationalized and rights to the toys were lost. In 1991 Renate Müller regained control of the rights to her own designs. Since then, she's been running a bed and breakfast and filling orders for animals and toys for therapeutic zoos — mainly for kindergartens and hospitals in (surprise) Japan."

[via: http://www.dwell.com/daily/blog/29624014.html ]
plush  glvo  animals  health  therapy  toys  schools  hospitals  kindergarten  renatemüller 
september 2008 by robertogreco
The trouble with older kindergarten. - By Emily Bazelon - Slate Magazine
"study suggests that effects of kindergarten redshirting are more serious & long-term...create age span in classroom that extends...18 months..makes it harder for younger ones to keep up...in age of academic kindergarten...trend...among well-off families may be fueling trend toward state laws that delay kindergarten for everyone...starting...late correlates with dropping out of high school & earning less afterward"
education  kindergarten  children  parenting  schools  redshirting  preschool  learning  lifetime 
august 2008 by robertogreco
takaharu and yui tezuka - interview with the husband and wife team behind tezuka architects
"what books do you have on your bedside table? t: none - no books. do you read design and architecture magazines? t: sometimes it's necessary, but it's more important to understand everyday life. where do you get news from? t: we're always the last ones t
architecture  design  interviews  tezukaarchitects  japan  fujikindergarten  kindergarten  tokyo  schooldesign  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Family Style - New Homes - dwell.com
"When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo."
homes  housing  japan  architecture  design  tokyo  tezukaarchitects  fujikindergarten  kindergarten  schooldesign  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007 
september 2007 by robertogreco
TAKAHARU TEZUKA+YUI TEZUKA
see Fuji Kindergarten and Houses: Porch (in Dwell), My Own Sky, Sandou, Observatory Room, Eaves, Floating Roof, Jyubako, Shoe Box, Big Window, Observation, Clipping Corner, House to Catch the Sky 4 (and III), Saw Roof, Skylight
architecture  design  homes  japan  practice  materials  tezuka  architects  housing  fujikindergarten  tezukaarchitects  kindergarten  tokyo  schooldesign  schools  education  takaharutezuka  2007 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Fuji Kindergarten [Monocle]
"Architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka joined forces with Kashiwa Sato, one of Toyko's most respected creative directors to build, and brand, a novel kind of kindergarten in Tachikawa, a suburban area of Tokyo. Monocle's Asian Bureau Chief Fiona Wilson repor
architecture  children  schools  education  schooldesign  learning  lcproject  japan  tokyo  design  fujikindergarten  tezukaarchitects  kindergarten  takaharutezuka  2007 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Domusweb | FEATURES | Giant kindergarten
"A large oval kindergarten Tokyo, Fuji Kindergarten. Project by Takaharu and Yui Tezuka. Photography by Gaia Cambiaggi Architecture as seen by children"
architecture  children  schools  design  schooldesign  japan  tokyo  play  learning  space  education  lcproject  fujikindergarten  tezukaarchitects  kindergarten  takaharutezuka  2007 
april 2007 by robertogreco
The Education Arcade
"The Education Arcade is committed to research and development projects that drive innovation in educational computer and video games. Our research-based creative design, pedagogical development, and student evaluation activities inform the production and
curriculum  computers  e-learning  education  games  videogames  play  learning  interactive  socialsoftware  students  teaching  technology  innovation  social  research  multimedia  kindergarten  seriousgames  henryjenkins  mit  simulations  mobile  edutainment  elearning  gamedesign  gamedev  gaming  pedagogy 
october 2006 by robertogreco

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