let them play!

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“Need more proof that society is hurrying childhood along? … The US DOE website (2009) says, “Awards in Race to the Top will go to states that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling and comprehensive education reform” — whatever that means. We assume that a committee of government lawyers under the influence of freeway exhaust fumes or hard liquor composed the prose on the website. We were unable to decipher the slipper and obtuse language enough to understand exactly WHY there is a race and precisely WHAT everyone is racing to the top of. “

Our ECE book club just read Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum by Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger, which is amazing, and I’d highly recommend to fellow “play-obsessed” educators. One of my favorite parts of the book (besides the biased political emphasis highlighted above :) were the messages about treating teachers as artists (opposed to cogs) and thinking about policies meant to make good teachers great, rather than just eliminate the awful ones. Managers should eliminate the awful teachers… do we need policies to do that? Or are our policies meant to help children actually hurting great teachers, and in turn, hurting the children they serve? There are also some amazing points about how we, as early childhood educators, need to be advocates for the children for whom we care.

Let Them Play also complements NAEYC’s new book on Emergent Curriculum well, which was also a great read, and LTP gives more rationale, to save up for when you are defending your best practices, as so many of us, especially in elementary schools, often have to do.

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