Supporting the

Rights & Needs of Young Children

Defending the early years

DEY’s Mission

Our mission is to work for a just, equitable, and quality early childhood education for every young child, by informing educators, administrators, and parents about how children develop and learn best and advocating for the active, playful, experiential approaches to learning informed by child development theory and evidence-based research.

DEY’s Primary Goals

  • To advocate at the grassroots, local, state, regional, and federal levels for education policies based on child development theory and research.
  • To mobilize the early childhood community to speak up for age-appropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices that are based on research.
  • To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and to support educators in counteracting policies and practices that undermine whole child health and optimal learning.

The Miraculous Nature of Everyday Play

In this mini-documentary, DEY founders Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane Levin discuss the threats to play, why it’s so important to young children’s optimal development, and why we must preserve and protect it.

What’s New?
Latest News. PUBLICATIONS. DEY Takes Action.

Taking the Right to Play to the Illinois General Assembly

Since I attended the first annual True Play Conference in Anji, China, my work has focused on igniting the global…

International Play Association (IPA USA) Receives DEY Mini Grant

The International Play Association (IPA USA) received a DEY mini grant that was used to redesign its website,, to…

Take Action
Stand With DEY
Become an Activist

DEY seeks to rally parents and educators to take action on policies affecting the education of young children, by encouraging them to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.

Apply for Action Grant

DEY provides mini-grants of between $200 and $500 to individuals and organizations to help foster work in communities across the country. DEY’s first mini-grant, awarded in 2014, resulted in a rally for play that took place in Minneapolis.


Are you concerned about the direction that education policy is going? We are, too!
Help DEY continue its important work advocating for appropriate education for young children. Please Consider Making a Donation.

Dey’s Impact
A Brief Look at DEY’s History.
DEY has an active presence on facebook, with over 7,200 followers, and on twitter, with over 1,800 followers.
DEY produced a series of videos that are getting traction on the internet. The videos are available on DEY’s YouTube channel.
distinguished nationally and internationally-known early childhood experts and organizations.
DEY’s first mini-grant, awarded in 2014, resulted in a rally for play that took place in Minneapolis.
DEY issued comprehensive reports, position statements, and fact sheets in English and Spanish.
DEY’s reports, position papers, and op-eds have been quoted and published in the major national media and press.
DEY Newsletter

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