Aug 022013

Reprinted from

Increasingly we hear that academic work, including test prep, is reaching down into the lowest grades, even preschool. Here’s a post with teacher concerns on the issue, written by Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and Diane E. Levin. They run the nonprofit called Defending the Early Years, which seeks to rally educators to take action on policies that affect the education of young children. DEY is a non-profit project of the Survival Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization based in Watertown, Massachusetts. You can read more stories from teachers at the DEY website, on the “Voices from the Field” page. Continue reading »

Aug 012013

Diane Levin is blogging at the Huffington PostReprinted from Diane’s blog on

The city of Detroit has declared bankruptcy (Globe). In the summer of 1967, I was in Detroit, with a group of beginning early childhood teachers from around the country. It was a very hopeful time. We were studying how President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” would help children and families who were living in poverty in the inner city. A focal point of the “war,” Head Start, was in its infancy. It offered new hope, part of a comprehensive set of programs and services designed to help “lift” children and families out of poverty. There was much optimism about the future for Detroit’s poor. Officials described Detroit as a “demonstration city” that had quickly and effectively implemented all available programs and resources provided by the federal government to fight the War on Poverty. The deterioration of inner city Detroit had been halted, and many in high places were hopeful that the downward spiral had even been stopped, even reversed. Continue reading »

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Apr 172013

As I am feeling the distress of the city as the rampant violence in the world has now hit Boston. Children in Boston and beyond are hearing yet again about the horrors of violence.  Here are 2 items I have written in the past about how adults can help children deal with violence they hear about in the news.  They were written for other events, but seem to still be relevant now (unfortunately).  If you have experiences with children now you would like to share or questions you would like to ask, please write to this blog.  Hopefully other readers and I will be able to respond.

Download “Guidelines for Helping Children Deal with News Violence”

Download “When the World is a Dangerous Place: Helping Children Deal with Violence in the News”

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Jan 162013

The “Exchange EveryDay” message below is a quote from my article, “Beyond Remote Control Teaching and Learning: The Special Challenges of Helping Children Construct Knowledge Today,” which was published in Exchange Magazine (May/June 2011).  I wrote the article because of my deep concern over the extreme misfit I am seeing between so many of the early childhood school reforms currently underway and who the young children of today really are.

That is, as young children are controlled more and more by media and technology—what I call “Remote Controlled-Childhood”—they have a hard time constructing knowledge through the process described in the quote below.  But instead of giving children what they need, today’s education policy makers are responding by mandating remote-controlled approaches to teaching and learning—rote teaching of easily testable isolated facts. Continue reading »

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Dec 162012

I listen to the news about the tragedy, in Newtown, CT, with many complex emotions—deep sadness for the children and families, deep distress that another tragedy like there could happen, anger that guns are so readily available in this country, and much, much more.

But one thing I’ve been hearing does hearten me—the fact that almost immediately after the tragedy, along with talk about the tragedy, there was discussion about how adults can talk to children about what they hear about it on the news. Yes, as news reports about Newtown take over the mind of the nation—even of the world, children do hear about it and need our help dealing with what they hear. And thank goodness, there are now experts and resources out there that will help us do that. And all of us who work with children and families should listen to and read what is said and use what we learn to work with children. Continue reading »

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