We’re Not in Reggio Emilia Anymore: Kathy and Ro’s Translation Project

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Play, the primary engine of human development, is vanishing. Melvin Konner, an anthropologist and neuroscientist, regards it as the central paradox of evolutionary biology, combining great energy and risk for an activity that seems pointless.

But pointless it’s not. The positive emotions evoked by interactions, physical exercise, and mastery of skills in play spurs us toward novelty and more flexible learning—an exquisite means of developing our brains, social selves, and alleviating stress.

Sadly, recent education policies have squelched what all the smartest mammals do naturally. Literacy and numeracy, the prime foci of the Common Core, have . . . Read full article →

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Jeanette Deutermann Leads an All-Star Team for the Whole Child

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Earlier this year, as New York entered the testing season, Jeanette Deutermann posted some advice on the Facebook page of the Long Island Opt-Out group. A mother of two, at the epicenter of the state’s resistance movement, she addressed this question: what do we say to individuals who think it’s important for kids to take the test so that they learn not to back down from a challenge?

The steering committee of New York State Allies for Public Education, upon which Deutermann sits, had to get it right. This was no academic exercise: it went straight . . . Read full article →

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What Do Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups? Ask Erika Christakis

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Suddenly, everyone’s weighing in on what young children need. From CEOs of tech startups to the titans of philanthropcapitalism, from economists to journalists and political pundits, early development and education have become a free-for-all, the province of those whose expertise lies elsewhere.

Enter, Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little. First, her credentials. She spent her undergraduate years at Harvard, and went on for advanced degrees at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. Long affiliated with Yale, she has taught preschoolers along with college courses on child development and . . . Read full article →

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Test Nation I: Parents Across America Unite

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This morning, succumbing to my raging digital addiction, I opened yet another email from Education Week. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines this malady as a “process” condition—distinct from an obsession with activities such as shopping, eating, and doing drugs. A primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry, characterized by cravings, behavioral problems, and dysfunctional emotional responses.

“Testing … Testing … View the Top Stories On Assessment and Testing” was the subject—inspired by the beginning of the high-stakes season (for children, not horses). “Spring is here!” they crowed.

The magazine was . . . Read full article →

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