Revitalizing the Children’s Garden

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There’s a crisis in the American kindergarten. It’s become the new first grade—if not beyond. In April, more than 200 teachers descended on Bank Street College of Education in New York City to reaffirm the unique and vital role of kindergarten in children’s lives.

“Play is the highest expression of the child’s development,” Friedrich Froebel wrote in the Education of Man. We have to forgive the beloved founder of kindergarten for his lapse from gender neutrality, Cecilia Traugh, Bank Street’s dean of the graduate school, reminded the audience as the celebration began. He lived in the 18th and . . . Read full article →

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Kaliris Salas-Ramirez: Caught in the Crossfire of a Battle for Democracy

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Central Park East 1, a small, public elementary school in East Harlem, has been under siege for more than a year, a battleground for democracy. Founded by renowned educator, writer, and activist Deborah Meier in 1974, this outpost for progressive, developmentally attuned practice is one of a dwindling number of options in New York City for leveling the playing field for young children.

A neuroscientist who was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, Kaliris Salas-Ramirez is an assistant professor at the medical school of the City University of New York, and co-president of the Parents . . . Read full article →

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Susan DuFresne Takes a Look at Her Lego Collection

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Legos have been beloved staples of early childhood for decades. The corporation that makes them recently closed a search for a professor of play at Cambridge, a position covered by a $5 million endowment to the university. Also included in the gift is a research center dedicated to this primary engine of human development.

Susan DuFresne is a kindergarten teacher in Washington State, where a former Microsoft executive is director of the Department of Early Learning. She has given a new face to early childhood activism, raising her impassioned voice for social justice and educational equity . . . Read full article →

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A Kindergartner Reserves a Space for #OptOut2020

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Welcome to the season of testing, our vernal blood sport. Uploading the schedule took forever. It must have been the server of the New York State Education Department, sclerotic as the bureaucracy itself. But there it was, a memo signed by Deputy Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. An exam for every public school student on the “education” spectrum—if one could dignify it as such—from third through eighth grade.

Action has intensified in recent weeks. New York State Allies for Public Education, which has long guided parents in the process of refusal, expressed outrage at a toolkit sent to . . . Read full article →

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