Blog

Denisha Jones, Ph.D., J.D., DEY’s Co-Director, writes a monthly blog on current topics in early childhood education and advocacy.  Many others, both members of the DEY family and friends and colleagues, have written blogs on a variety of topics, which we have published and publicized.

We invite others to submit blog posts for consideration.  Blogs should be 1,000 words or under.  Send your blogs to Denisha at denisha@dey.org.

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Betting on Early Childhood Education to Save the World!

I know it may sound Pollyanna-ish but I believe early childhood education can save the world! Not the current state of early childhood education drowning in the push down of academics and ignoring the power of play, but my vision of early childhood education that capitalizes on children’s unlimited imagination, boundless energy, endless curiosity, and faith in fairness to create a space where they can be free.

The Ties That Bind: Forging Loving Relationships Between Children, Parents, and Grandparents During the Pandemic

by Judith Van Hoorn, Pete Van Hoorn, and Rebecca Wheat “Our son Grant came over with some food for Cooke…

Making the Best Out of Remote Schooling: Ideas for Encouraging Children’s Play at Home

It is no secret that I am a play advocate. I believe in the power of play to support children’s…

Protecting Play and Inquiry in a Socially Distant World

by Mary Bell, M.M. MAT, has been inspired by young children’s wisdom, creativity, and sense of wonder throughout her 30…

the State of Utah for online preschool

DEY Responds to Utah Senator’s Guest Essay on Online “Preschool”

Senator Stuart Adams of Utah recently endorsed Waterford Upstart Online “preschool” programs. We disagree and we sent a letter explaining…

ALL Children Need Play

by Jim St. Clair Jim St. Clair is a former kindergarten teacher in New York and Boston.  He is a…

Are You Ready to Make 2020 the Year of Early Childhood Education?

It is a new year and we at Defending the Early Years are excited to continue our work promoting policies…

2019 DEY Annual Organizing Meeting in Nashville, TN

Denisha Jones and Marcy Guddemi led DEY’s Annual Organizing meeting, held during the NAEYC conference on November 23 in Nashville,…

Reflections on the Fight to Protect Childhood: What Have We Done? Where Are We Going? What Are We Up Against?

It has been one year since I became the Director of Early Childhood Organizing for Defending the Early Years. Through…

What Does Play Advocacy Look Like in a Classroom?

Dr. Denisha Jones, DEY Director of Early Childhood Organizing, interviews Becky Slone. Becky Slone has worked in the field of…

What is the Power of True Play? Play as Freedom, Play as Liberation

  For my final reflection from the 1st True Play Conference in Anji, China, I want to discuss a theme…

Why Is It Still So Hard To Give Young Children the Space and Time to Play?

Written by Erika Christakis, Early Childhood Educator and Author of The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need…

What Are True Play Environments and What Do They Look Like?

Welcome back to my five-part series on my trip to the 1st International True Play Conference in Anji, China.  At…

A Tribute to Vivian Paley

by Blakely Bundy, Co-Director of DEY and former Executive Director of The Alliance for Early Childhood, located on the North…

First Institute Gathering

Play, Practices, and Policies: Reflections from DEY’s First Leadership Institute

As the Director of ECE Organizing for Defending the Early Years, I developed a plan that would support our work…

New York Times Story on Online Preschool Exposes Deficiencies

New York Times Story on Online Preschool Exposes Deficiencies

New York Times, July 7, 2019  Virtual Pre-K Closes a Gap But Exposes Another

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC)

DEY Suggests Alternatives to Online Preschool

Defending the Early Years (DEY) and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC)  issued a statement urging The Audacious Project, housed…

How a True Play Revolution Can Protect Childhood

How a True Play Revolution Can Protect Childhood

Part three in my five-part blog series reporting on my experience attending the first annual True Play Conference in Anji,…

Kindergarten Teacher: Why Our Youngest Learners are Doomed Right Out of the Gate – and a Roadmap to Fix It

Phyllis Doerr, a kindergarten teacher from Newark, NJ,  is greatly concerned about what is happening in kindergartens today, setting kids…

The Five Principles of Anji Play

Part two in my five-part series on true play will focus on the five principles of Anji Play. Founded by…

true play, Anji Play, the play revolution in China and the U.S.

What is True Play?

As a play advocate and a protector of childhood, I was immediately drawn to learning more about the play revolution,…

Defending the Early Years Guest Blog

NAEYC’s 2019 Public Policy Forum by Makai Kellogg 

Makai Kellogg is an anti-bias educator in the DC area. She teaches at School for Friends, serves as the Equity and Diversity…

Denisha's Blog, Defending the Early Years

I Am Ready: How Florida Early Childhood Educators Resist the Misuse of Kindergarten Readiness Assessment

At the last DEY organizing meeting during the NAEYC conference in Washington, DC, I met Heather Siskind who is the…

Speaking Out against Massachusetts Regulations Which Target Male Teachers

  by Craig Simpson ​I am a retired Early Childhood educator of more than 40 years much in the Commonwealth…

Alfie Kohn Responds to New Study on Academic Kindergartens

A new study in American Educational Research Journal ostensibly found that teaching advanced academic content in kindergarten is beneficial in…

DEY’s Response to The New Republic Article, “Give Parents Money, Not Universal Pre-K”

The experts at Defending the Early Years find fault with the premise of the article which pits family support and…

Kids Are Inundated With New Digital Technologies – How Does That Affect Learning?

Diane spoke with Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today, Detroit Public Radio, January 11, 2019 on the topic of the impact…

Alexa Can Help Kids With Homework, But Don’t Forget Problem-Solving Skills

Diane spoke on NPR Morning Edition with Jasmine Garsd, January 10, 2019 on the topic of the impact of digital…

DEY Responds to NPR Article: “Why Millions of Kids Cannot Read, and What Better Teaching Can Do About It”

NPR article, published Jan. 2, 2019: Why Millions of Children Can’t Read and What Better Teaching Can Do About Itby…

Denisha Jones

Our First Story of Resistance: Voicing Your Concerns

  Last month I announced that Defending the Early Years would be collecting stories of resistance with the goal of…

Defending the Early Years publications in Boston University

Dr. Diane Levin and Defending the Early Years Colleagues Host Events at the NAEYC Conference

Defending the Early Years, an early childhood education initiative launched by Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Dr. Ed Miller, and BU Wheelock…

Building An Early Childhood Education Resistance Movement: Protecting Childhood and The Profession

​Education in the United States, and especially early childhood education, is a decentralized patchwork of local, state, national, and private…

DEY: PROTECTING IMMIGRANT FAMILIES

Protecting Immigrant Families

DEY Statement on Protecting Immigrant Families We oppose separating children from their families because it is inhumane and has lifelong…

American Academy of Pediatrics

DEY Supports the American Academy of Pediatrics New Report on the Power of Play

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released a new report that strongly endorses the important role of play in…

Denisha Jones

Protect Childhood: Demand a Right to Play

Back to school was always my favorite time of the year.  I loved going to school so much that I…

The Demise of Student Responsibility and the Paradox of School Accountability

Some of my biggest pet peeves as a college professor are students who refuse or do not know how to…

Preparing Teachers for The Schools We Want or The Schools We Have

As a teacher educator I spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on my practices. Especially when my school is…

Fact Check: Four Myths about Separating Children at the Border

By now, most of us have heard about or seen the harrowing pictures of children as young as 12-months-old being…

When Government Policies Destroy Childhood

Some of my readers might not know this, but in 2014 I decided to return to school as a part-time…

Pre-k Profit: ReadyNation Hosts Global Business Leaders in New York City this November

by Alison McDowell Alison McDowell is a parent of a public school student and a member of the Alliance for…

Denisha Jones

Why I Will Encourage Parents to Opt Out  of IELS

  In April, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel about the OECD’s new International Early Learning and…

Changing Times, Changing Play: Promoting Quality Play Today!

Diane Levin reflects on how young children’s play has changed and how we can encourage it again. Click to download.

Marcy Guddemi, PhD, MBA

Might Childhood Play Help Prevent School Shootings?

  by Dr. Marcy Guddemi ​ Marcy Priess Guddemi, PHD, MBA, a national consultant, is an expert on preschool children’s…

Fact Sheet for Familieson Testing and Young Children

Save Your Child from Testing Season

It’s April in the U.S. and that can only mean two things, taxes and testing season. For those people removed…

Denisha Jones

The Biggest Barrier to Producing High-Quality Early Childhood Teachers…It’s Not What You Think

  When asked why we do not have enough preschool teachers, most people would immediately say its because the pay…

Denisha Jones

I Refuse to Prepare My Students for This

  People have a hard time understanding what I do all day at work. They are not perplexed that I…

Philadelphia Early Childhood Activists Testify

“A DEY shout-out to early childhood activists who testified on Monday, March 12 at a meeting of Philadelphia’s City Council’s Education committee…

ECE and the #BlackLivesMatter Week of Action in Schools

Last month I wrote about addressing anti-blackness in early childhood classrooms with the goal of affirming black as beautiful in…

The Real Cost of High-Quality Early Childhood Education

We can all agree, that a high quality early childhood education is in the best interest of not only all…

Marcy Guddemi, PhD, MBA

Mandates, Brain Growth, and Play.

  Presented at the DEY Organizing Event at NAEYC 11/17/2017 by Marcy Guddemi, PhD, MBA, National Consultant Thank you, everyone,…

Addressing Anti-Blackness in Early Childhood Classrooms

  Most early childhood educators are aware of anti-bias work and many use an anti-bias curriculum in their classrooms. But…

This Is How You Protect Childhood

This past summer I was invited to give the Thomas Wright Lecture at Sarah Lawrence College as part of the…

View DEY’s Organizing Meeting at the 2017 NAEYC Conference in Atlanta on Facebook Live Stream

View the live stream here. To view the Live Steamed broadcast of DEY’s Annual Organizing meeting during the 2017 NAEYC…

Teachers Need to Play, Too!

  By now we should all know how essential play is to the healthy development of all children, but we…

Kindergarten Experts

  by James St. Clair ​Some years back I was asked to sit in on a meeting for a 3rd…

From Kindergarten to College: How a Push for “Readiness” Fails Learners

On Saturday, October 14th, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel titled Reclaiming Childhood and Restoring Teacher Voice…

Backpack Full of Cash was shown at the recent Progressive Education Network Conference in Boston.

Backpack full of Cash at the Progressive Education Network Conference

Backpack Full of Cash was shown at the recent Progressive Education Network Conference in Boston. Following the showing, DEY’s Nancy…

Boston Premier of “Backpack Full of Cash” is a Huge Hit!

DEY’s Senior Advisor, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, and her son, Matt Damon, participated in the recent screening of Backpack Full of Cash….

Becoming an Early Childhood Advocate

  by Rae Pica ​Note that this piece was originally posted on the NAEYC Hello website.  It is re-published with…

New York State’s Early Childhood Teachers Speak Out

  “As teachers, we are fighting for kids to play.” – Bianca Tanis, Special Education Kindergarten Teacher”Policymakers’ de-emphasis on play…

Across County Lines and Country Boarders. What My Students Have Led Me to Believe.

  ​This is a re-posting of a blog written in October, 2016.by Emily Kaplan ​I had a student once, a…

Denisha Jones

What Early Childhood Education Can Teach Us About Mastery Learning

I recently read an article in the Washington City Paper entitled, “A DC Teacher’s Bold Vision to Improve Scandalously Poor…

Kindergarten is Not What It Was!

by James St. Clair   Something is missing in kindergarten. I know this because for the past year I’ve been…

Screen-Free Week May 1st – May 7th

This post is reprinted from the Mission Hill School Newsletter, 4.28.17. DEY Co-director Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin is a also teacher of…

A Mom’s Story about Her Son’s Suspension from Pre-K

  by Brandi Byers My son is a pre-kindergarten student at an inner-city public school in Phoenix, Arizona. He is…

Kindergarten Readiness Assessments

Don’t Use Kindergarten Readiness Assessments for Accountability More than 40 states either have or are in the process of developing…

Image of Dr. Denisha Jones

What Early Childhood Education in the United States Can Teach Us About School Choice

  In January, proponents of school choice held their annual National School Choice Week to “raise public awareness of all…

Image of Diane Ravitch

DEY Pays Tribute to Diane Ravitch

DEY was represented at the recent tribute to Diane Ravitch, held in New York City. Left to right: Diane Ravitch;…

Nancy Carlsson-Paige Keynotes The Long Island Pre-K Initiative Conference: Best Practices for Teaching Pre-K and K

On November 8th, 500 kindergarten and pre-k teachers on Long Island came together for the first time in a conference…

My First Grader Doesn’t Like School – and I Don’t Blame Her!

  by Tama Koss Caldarone Tama Koss Caldarone lives in Florida with her husband and two children, ages 6 and…

Attending the NAEYC Conference in LA? Don’t Miss DEY’s Workshop

  Dr. Diane Levin, DEY Senior Advisor, and Dr. Denisha Jones, a member of DEY’s national Advisory Board and DEY’s…

Education Technology and The Young Child: Three Reasons Why Parents Should Opt Out

  We live in a world where technology will continue to take us to new places. From driverless cars to…

Diversity and America’s Generation Gap

​On July 7th, our newest member to DEY’s National Advisory Board, Ruth Rodriguez-Fay, made the following speech at the First Focus…

Forward Together.  Not One Step Back.

​ Our fight for public education is only good if we fight for social justice. – Denisha Jones, SOS, United…

The People’s March for Public Education and Social Justice: On July 8, 2016

  Save Our Schools Coalition Set to March in DC on July 8th! www.saveourschoolsmarch.org For the last ten years the…

Nepal Struggles with Many of the Same Issues as the US

​by Diane Levin ​ In May, I was in Kathmandu, Nepal, working with colleague, Professor Kishor Shrestha, Country Coordinator of Global…

You Are Not Alone: The Value of Speaking Up Together

  Today’s post is written by second grade teacher and guest blogger, Emily Kaplan. On Saturday, May 21st Emily presented…

Senior Advisor Nancy Carlsson-Paige Reflects on the 2016 Network for Public Education Conference

The 2016 Network for Public Education Conference, held April 15-17 in Raleigh, NC, is truly an experience—something hard to describe.  For a few…

Livestream DEY Session at the NPE Conference: Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 2:30 EDT

  ​DEY Senior Advisor Nancy Carlsson-Paige and DEY National Board member Denisha Jones will join Susan Ochshorn and Michelle Gunderson…

New York Times, entitled “What Pre-K Means for Your Pre-Teenager,” by David L. Kirp

Testing for Social Emotional Learning?  No, Thank You!

  The following are some responses to yesterday’s New York Times article: Testing for Joy and Grit? Schools Nationwide Push…

Celebrate Giving Tuesday

Please Support DEY   #GivingTuesday   Join people around the world today, Tuesday, Dec. 1st, known as #GivingTuesday. This is a…

DEY Fall Events and Information

  Here at DEY we strive to understand the complications and confusions that many of you are facing around the…

Why Are Our CCSS Concerns Ignored?

  On Twitter this week, a teacher asked DEY why our concerns regarding the Common Core State Standards and young…

The Incredible NPE Experience: Chicago, 2015

Last weekend the Network for Public Education (NPE) hosted their second annual national conference. It was, to say the least,…

DEY Endorses Excellent, Intentional Literacy Experiences in Kindergarten

  Today’s post is written by DEY’s Senior Adviser Nancy Carlsson-Paige. She just posted the comment below on Diane Ravitch’s…

DEY Fact Sheets

Parents and Teachers Say “No!” Testing Resistance Continues to Grow

  Resistance to over-testing and high stakes testing continues to mount across the country. Here are some inspiring examples: Karen…

Countdown to NAEYC’s Annual Conference

DEY will be presenting and exhibiting at NAEYC’s Annual Conference in Dallas, TX on November 5-8th!  If you are attending,…

New York State Parents Fight to Reclaim Student Education from Excessive Testing and Data Collection

Please see the exciting press release below. Here at DEY we are happy to help spread this news from  New…

Are the Common Core State Standards Failing Our Kids?

​Please read and share DEY’s feature article, Are the Common Core State Standards failing our kids? in the current issue of…

Peter Gray

Peter Gray: The Decline of Play and The Rise of Mental Disorders

  We encourage you to take 15 minutes to view this powerful Tedx talk from Dr. Peter Gray. “Dr. Peter…

Marcy Guddemi, PhD, MBA

Common Core and Kindergarten Boys

  The Gesell Institute of Child Development is known as the oldest voice in child development on our country and…

Opting Out of High Stakes Testing in Massachusetts

Massachusetts public school parent Ricardo D. Rosa has publicly opted his child out of high-stakes testing. His letter to the…

Setting Children Up to Hate Reading: Guest Post by Nancy Bailey

  Bailey is a former special education teacher and principal from Tennessee who is committed to getting education reform on…

Looking Back at “A Year at Mission Hill”

“What can the larger world of American education take away from one school’s experiences?” A Year at Mission Hill was…

NAEYC’s 2013 Annual Conference Update

Back from Washington, DC and beginning to reflect on all that happened.  Here are just a few initial thoughts –…

Early Childhood Resistance Continues to Grow

  Today we share more examples of resistance to the current education “reform” movement… In New York City, parents at…

Blakely Bundy, DEY's Co-Director

A Grandmother’s Story about The Impact of Today’s Kindergarten on One Little Boy

  This piece was written by our colleague Blakely Bundy. Bundy is the Outgoing Executive Director of The Alliance for…

Early Childhood Activists in the UK

  Early childhood activists have been organizing in the UK. Last week the Save Childhood Movement in England – “a growing collaboration…

Fighting the Good Fight

  H​ere at DEY we are always happy to share news of parents, teachers and citizens standing up – to…

Occupy the U.S. Department of Education: The Battle for Public Schools

  Contact: United Opt Out National  Email:unitedoptoutnational@gmail.com Website: http://unitedoptout.com OCCUPY THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 2.0 The Battle for Public Schools…

Barbara Beatty: The Looming Fight Over Obama’s Pre-K Plan: It’s Not Just About The Money

  Barbara Beatty, professor of education at Wellesley College, recently wrote a piece Huffington Post. Her article, The Looming Fight Over…

DEY Joins Forces with Network for Public Education to Oppose Education Reforms

  Defending the Early Years has joined the recently formed Network for Public Education. We strongly encourage you to join as…

136+ MA Educators, Researchers Endorse Statement

  ​More than 136 Massachusetts education professors and researchers have added their voices to a growing national rebellion against high-stakes…

RI Second Grade Teacher’s Letter Says, “I Quit!”

  ​DEY would like to introduce you to Stephen Round. Stephen Round is a second grade teacher who, like many…

Courageous in Seattle

  There is a bit of a standardized testing revolt brewing in Seattle! About a week ago, the teachers at Garfield…

Retired Librarian Takes Action in Boston

The following letter ran in the December 12th edition of the Boston Globe. See below how grandmother, and retired librarian, Lani…

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