Recommended Resources


Alliance for Childhood

American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA)

At the Chalk Face – including Shaun Johnson and Tim Slekar’s progressive education radio show every Sunday at 6 pm

Bridging Differences Deborah Meier’s blog at Education Week

CCFC Campaign for a Commercial- Free Childhood

The CAYL Institute  Community Advocates for Young Learners

Child Development Institute Sarah Lawrence College

Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting

Community Playthings Resources

Early Childhood Action, Winchester, England

ECE PolicyMatters, Susan Ochshorn

FairTest The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

Gesell Institute of Child Development

International Play Association (IPA)

Investigating Choice Time

Network for Public Education

Mission Hill School Progressive Public School in Boston, MA

Parents Across America

PEACE  –   (Formerly known as CEASE, now known as PEACE : Peace Educators Allied for Children Everywhere)

Save Childhood Movement, based in England

SOS Save Our Schools

Susan Ohanian

TRUCE  Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment


A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play  by Vivian Gussin Paley (or any of the many books by Vivian Gussin Paley), University of Chicago Press, 2005.

The Classrooms All Young Children Need  by Patricia M. Cooper, University of Chicago Press, 2009.

The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch, Basic Books, 2010.

Different Learners:  Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child’s Learning Problems  by Jane M. Healy, Simon & Schuster, 2011.

Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education  by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Alliance for Childhood, & Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment, 2012.

The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups
by Erika Christakis, Viking Press, 2016.

The Most Important Year: PreKindergarten and the Future of Our Children by Suzanne Bouffard, Bouffard, 2017.  Read DEY Senior Advisor Diane Levin’s review of this book here.

Reclaiming Childhood by William Crain, Owl Books, 2004.

Slaying Goliath: The Passionate Resistance to Privatization and the Fight to Save America’s Public Schools, by Diane Ravitch, Alfred K. Knopf, New York, 2020.

Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Plume. 2008.

Most Recent Articles

Effects of Statewide Pre-Kindergarten Program on Children’s Achievement and Behavior Through Sixth Grade  by Kelley Durkin, Mark W. Lipsey, Dale C. Farran, and Sarah E. Wiesen. Developmental Psychology  2022

Play is Disappearing from Kindergarten.  It’s Hurting Kids. by Joe Martin, Rethinking Schools. Feb. 4, 2020.

Defend the Early Years  by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Denisha Jones, Rethinking Schools, December 2019.

Should We Worry That American Children Are Less Creative?  by Valerie Strauss and Erika Christakis, The Answer Sheet in the Washington Post, December 9, 2019.

Educator Encourages True Play.  Vida Life, Oxnard, CA, November 21, 2019.

A Research-Based Case for Recess Position Paper  (2019). US Play Coalition in collaboration with American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA/USA) and the Alliance for Childhood.

To Really Learn, Our Children Need the Power of Play by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle, Aug. 8, 2019, Wall Street Journal

Untangling the Evidence on Preschool Effectiveness: Insights for Policymakers  by Beth Meloy, Madelyn Garner, Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute, Jan. 31, 2019.

The Secret Power of the Children’s Picture Book  by Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal, January 19-20, 2019.

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting  by Erika Christakis, The Atlantic, July/August, 2018.

The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role of Enhancing Development in Young Children by Michael Yogman, Andrew Garner, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, the Council on Communications and Media, Pediatrics, August, 2018

Sorry, Mom and Dad, Toys Cannot Supercharge Your Baby by Erik Vance, Scientific American, June 1. 2018.

Additional Articles

Changing Times, Changing Play – What Does it Matter?  by Diane Levin, Child Care Exchange, September/October 2012.

Compassion Deficit Disorder: What Causes It?  What Can We Do About It?  by Diane Levin, Community Playthings, March, 2016.

The Crisis in Early Education: A Research-Based Case of More Play and Less Pressure by Joan Almon and Ed Miller, Alliance for Childhood, November, 2011.  (Alliance for Childhood states: “This four-page article succinctly makes the case for play-based education.”)

The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents by Peter Gray, American Journal of Play, volume 3, number 4. © 2011 by The Strong. (a pdf)

Education Reform is Malpractice by Steve Nelson, Huffington Post, July 22, 2015.

ECA EYF Unhurried Pathways by Early Childhood Action. This is a free pdf version of the report published in Winchester, England in October 2012.

Here’s Why Preschool Suspensions Are Harmful  by Denisha Jones and Diane Levin, Education Week, January 24, 2016.

How Ed Policy is Hurting Early Childhood Education  by Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane Levin for The Answer Sheet for The Washington Post, May 26, 2012.

Learning to Count to 14 the Common Core Way and the Developmentally Appropriate Way – What is the Difference? Why Does it Matter?  by Diane E. Levin and Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Child Care Information Exchange, January-February, 2016.

A Lesson for Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last  by Elissa Nadworthy for NPREd: How Learning Happens, Nov. 17, 2016.

Let The Children Play: Nature’s Answer to Early Learning
 by Jane Hewes, PhD, Chair of the Early Childhood Education Program,Grant MacEwan College Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (pdf version).

Let the Kids Learn Through Play by David Kohn, New York Times, May 17, 2015

The New Preschool is Crushing Kids  by Erika Christakis, The Atlantic, January-February, 2016.

New York’s Common Core Pre-K Standards: They’re Not Kidding Around
  by Susan Ohanian, 2012.

Our Misguided Effort to Close the Achievement Gap is creating a New Inequality: The “Play” Gap  by Nancy Carlsson-Paige for The Answer Sheet for The Washington Post, August 23, 2016. Also included in Diane Ravitch’s blog as Nancy Carlsson-Paige: The Error of Killing Play in Kindergarten, August 24, 2016.

Put Away Those Smart Phones by Dr. William Crain for The East Hampton Star, Jan. 5, 2017.

The Serious Need for Play  
by Melinda Wenner for Scientific American Mind, February/March 2009.

Standards of Experience by Dr. Lilian Katz, Collage Magazine, May, 2010.

Stop Humiliating Teachers  by David Denby, Feb. 11, 2017, The New Yorker

A Tough Critique of Common Core on Early Childhood Education  by Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Edward Miller, for The Answer Sheet at the Washington Post, Jan. 29, 2013.

What Has Happened to Play? An Alarming Effect of Academic Mandates in Early Childhood Settings by Diane Levin for Community Playthings, September, 2016.

Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School
  by Alison Gopnik, Slate, March 16, 2011.

DEY Mini-Documentaries

Kisha Reid — Teachers Speak Out. (Spanish subtitles) In this mini-documentary, early childhood educator Kisha Reid expertly describes how play-based environments spark creativity and are crucial for the developing brain. Watch her students at work and see what is right in early childhood education today.

Jim St. Clair — Teachers Speak Out. (Spanish subtitles) In this mini-documentary, former public school kindergarten teacher Jim St. Clair discusses the changes he sees in today’s kindergarten classrooms, including a decrease in play-based learning and an increase in direct teaching and testing. Jim explains why choice time, in which children follow their own interests and inquiries, is crucial to their development.

Roberta Udoh — Teachers Speak Out. (Spanish subtitles) In DEY’s second mini-documentary, public school preschool teacher Roberta Udoh explains how the obsession with testing has resulted in educational policies that lead to diminished play and exploration of self for children of color and poor children, and the devastating effects it has on the soul and psyche of this population of early learners.

 Bianca Tanis – Teachers Speak Out. (Spanish subtitles).  In DEY’s first mini-documentary, public school kindergarten teacher from Suffern, NY, describes changes early childhood educators are seeing in classrooms due to market-based reforms, high stakes testing, and screens in school.  Noting a decline in play-based learning and concurrent increases in anxiety and depression among young children, Tanis calls for teachers to share their stories and raise awareness about what is happening in classrooms.

​Additional DEY Videos

Are young kids losing the brain-boosting benefits of playtime?  Featuring DEY Senior Advisor Nancy Carlsson-Paige and DEY Co-Director Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin at Mission Hill School; on PBS News Hour, July 5, 2016.

DEY’s video: Lively Minds: Distinction between Academic and Intellectual Goals for Young Children, 2015.

DEY’s video: Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose – with the Alliance for Childhood, 2015.

DEY’s Workshop Presentation at Network for Public Education’s National Conference in April, 2015, Chicago, IL.

When Education Goes Wrong: Taking the Creativity and Play Out of Learning, a Tedx Talk by Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, April 1, 2013.

A Year at Mission Hill. A 10-part video series chronicling the rhythms and relationships of a year in the life of one of America’s most successful public schools, located in Boston, MA, 2013.

More Videos

The Having of Wonderful Ideas: A Conversation about Jean Piaget with Eleanor Duckworth and William Crain. Zoom event from the School of Education at the City College of New York on March 3, 2021

Rusty’s Backyard.  An entertaining look at backyard play and learning by natural playscape designer and author Rusty Keeler. (2020)

The City College of New York’s High Quality Early Learning Project Video Series (2018):

See How They Play.  This film explores Magda Gerber’s Educaring Approach to play for infants and toddlers, encouraging time for play and exploration for even the youngest infants. Available as a DVD or on YouTube. Resources for Infant Educarers, 2013. ​

Play Again: What Are the Consequences of a Childhood Removed from Nature?”  Documentary featuring Richard Louv, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Diane Levin, Susan Linn, and other educators and environmentalists. 2013.

What Kindergarten Should Be, a Tedx Talk by Dr. Doris Fromberg, October 22, 2012.

The Role of Play in the Overly Academic Kindergarten by The Gesell Institute. This seven-and-a-half minute YouTube video is well worth your time and is easily shared with others. “Play is being banished from kindergarten classrooms across the U.S. Learn how this is impacting the nation’s youth. Narrated by Marcy Guddemi, Executive Director of the Gesell Institute, 2010.

The Learning Child Series, produced by Jonathan Diamond Associates in collaboration with Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Institute, 2009.

Where Do the Children Play?  Documentary produced by Michigan Public Television.

DEY partners with not-for-profit organizations and individuals who are actively involved in protecting childhood and advancing developmentally appropriate teaching practices for the education of young children. While it is standard practice to reference resources that we believe to be relevant and helpful to our community, DEY does not endorse nor promote for-profit organizations and their products.