Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Secrets To Lesson Planning


































I know that employment realities make writing out "lesson plans" a necessity for many teachers. Frankly, I don't know how one would write one of those, especially when it comes to the part about "leaning objectives." How can anyone know what someone is going to learn on any given day engaged in any given activity?

I once read an article featuring the warehouse used by the television program Mythbusters. I was so impressed by their balance between order and functionality that I've tried to emulate it here. I should note that I do know where most things are and that this area is off limits to children.

As a teacher employing an emergent, play-based curriculum, I figure my "planning" job is to keep up with the kids, observing, listening, calculating trajectories, then to do what I can to work with parents and our environment in support of their pursuit of knowledge, which, not accidentally, looks exactly like playing. Indeed, what I've found is that the more planning I do, the more likely it is that I inadvertently develop my own agenda, which, if I'm not super conscious about setting aside the moment the children have a better idea, and they usually have a better idea, can really get in the way of their all-important pursuit. 

I use this aisle to park my lesson planning bike during the day

In fact, I do most of my day-to-day curriculum planning during my 30 minute bicycle commute to and from school each day. Every now and then I'll jot a few notes when I arrive on the premises and a few just before departure. Sometimes I'll leave myself a sort of reminder on a counter top, like the old technique of tying a string around one's finger. 


It occurred to me yesterday, however, while participating in an online discussion, that there is another level of planning in which I engage, one I'd never thought of as "lesson planning" until now. And that is to have a well-stocked storage room, because there isn't always an opportunity to swing by the shops in the heat of our pursuit of knowledge. Now I can't tell you what that means exactly. Yes, we do have the obligatory art, constructive, and dramatic play supplies. We have collections of stuff, leftover things, and "ingredients," such as vinegar, baking soda, flour, liquid starch, vegetable oil, salt, Ivory Snow, and corn starch. Much of what we have in our storage room is what someone has previously declared "garbage." We've taken charge of it by way of using it one more time (or often many more times) before it heads to the landfill. 


Without this well-stocked storage room (not to mention the stuff stashed in and around our outdoor classroom) it would be much more of a challenge to engage in bicycle commute lesson planning. It's this that allows us to respond quickly to the rapidly changing needs, ideas, and directions the children take in their pursuit. There are still times, of course, when what we think we need isn't at hand, but more often than not, in our storage room of garbage, we can find something that will at least make do for the moment . . . And in a emergent, play-based pursuit, the moment is often everything.




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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wondering



































Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. ~James Baldwin


"I wonder if the blocks will fall down again."

I made this statement the other day as a group of kids were attempting to build a tower to the ceiling. They paused in what they were doing.

"I think they will because they get too high."

"Somebody keeps bumping them."

"The ones on top get too heavy."


I often think I'm at my best as a teacher when I'm saying the least, and especially when I'm only saying certain, well considered things. Instead of pondering aloud, for instance, I could have asked a direct question like, "Why do the blocks keep falling down?" a question to which I already know the "right" answer. It may seem like a difference without a distinction, but when we ask questions like this, ones to which we already know the answer, even if we do it with a gentle high-pitched voice, we've made ourselves into testers and our children into test takers.

"What color is this?"

"What letter do you see?"

"How many marbles are in the bowl?"


I know it's a fun game for some kids, just like some of us adults enjoy taking tests, but for others, this kind of ad hoc grilling adds an entirely unnecessary level of stress, not to mention the fact that it often rips an engaged child right out of her own process of scientific testing, turning her in a moment from tester into test subject. Instead of following his own inquiry, he's the focus of someone else's.

It's usually best to say nothing at all, and the longer I've been teaching, the more my mantra has become, "Shut up, Teacher Tom," but when I do decide to verbally interject myself into the children's play, I really like the "I wonder . . ." construct. For one, it's not a question demanding an answer: children can choose to respond to it or not. Those who enjoy the give-and-take of Q&A will hear it as a question anyway, while those less inclined to performing on my cue can take it or leave it. 


But more importantly, I think, is the space that "I wonder . . ." leaves for children to take up the wondering on their own. 

Particularly satisfying is when I remember to make more philosophical, open-ended statements. 

"I wonder why squid live in the water."

"I wonder what will happen if I knock over that building."

"I wonder if I could climb onto the roof of our school."

Sometimes it sparks remarkable conversations, speculations about nature, social dynamics, physics, and physicality. Sometimes not. The underlying point I think is not the specific things we say after the words "I wonder . . ." but rather the role-modeling of the inquiry itself. When we make these statements aloud, children hear us engaging the world as life-long learners, as critical thinkers, as philosophers, as people who still don't have all the answers. It reveals us in our proper role in this world that is far more often gray than black or white: it teaches the habit of taking a stance in life not as a mere test taker, but rather as a tester, which is what lies at the heart of a true education.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Why I'm Gentle Today



When I was between the ages of 4 and 9 my family lived in a suburban neighborhood on the site of a former pine forest, meaning that pine cones were a plentiful resource.

We made things with them, holiday decorations, bird feeders, and other crafty things, but over the span of time I lived there, by far the number one use of these pine cones was as projectiles. I suppose there was some spontaneous hurling, but what I remember most were proper "pine cone fights." We would begin by stockpiling our weaponry, not by the mere armful, but by filling up the farmers market baskets our moms kept in garages.

Most of the pinecones we found on the ground had wound up there according to the natural order of things: they had ripened, opened, released their seeds, then fell to the ground like leaves do in the fall. Sure, these had some pokey bits, but for the most part they were relatively light weight, unlikely to raise more than a minor welt when they made contact. There were always a few pine cones, however, that had fallen before their time, compact, sappy and hard as rocks. Chuckling evilly, we would gather a few of these as well, burying them at the bottom on our baskets with the idea of saving them for "dire" moments. 

Of course, those dire moments never came, no matter how intense our battles, attacking and retreating in hails of pine cones. Indeed, there were moments when I had one of those last resorters threateningly in hand, but I don't recall anyone ever actually throwing one, at least not with the intent or velocity to cause injury. There were no adults around to "be careful" us, there was no threat of punishment if we did, yet we kept those potentially harmful missiles in hand. In fact, even when we threw the regular pine cones, I might have had to duck and dodge to avoid being beaned, but I was in no fear that anyone was intentionally aiming at my head where there were eyes and other soft parts about which to worry. Close range throws were always directed at the body, where it might well sting, especially if they connected with unclothed arms or legs, but not likely to cause any sort of debilitating damage. And we all instinctively knew to "take something off" our close-range throws, particularly when a younger child was involved.

No adult told us any of this: it was built into the game. Why? Because we knew that if someone got hurt, the game was in jeopardy. When one of us did take a shot to the cheek, the game froze, genuine apologies were quickly offered, even sometimes sympathy, and we all hoped for no sign of blood or bruising. And the injured party was in it with us in hoping for the injury to be sufficiently minor that we could avoid adult intervention, because we all knew that would mean at least a temporary end to our game. We had already lost backyard tackle football for a whole week when Ralph Cozart took a black eye from John Sain's knee.

This is what's called self-regulation or, as it was phrased as a data point on our report cards, "self control." Even within an apparently wild, intense activity as pine cone fights, we found ourselves in a constant, rapid-fire assessment of risk both for ourselves and others, driven by the desire to keep the play going. We practiced setting aside our own minor discomforts, to keep it going. We strived to adhere to our own self-imposed, largely unspoken, safety rules even when feeling angry, afraid, or frustrated, to keep it going. We learned to care for the minor pains and emotions of others without the help of adults, to keep it going. 

In all our years of pine cone fights, there were many scrapes and bruises, and we always knew, going in, there was a potential for tears, but we kept right on playing. I imagine that if any of us today have pine cones on our playgrounds, pine cone fights are not permitted just as they weren't on our school playgrounds, because that's how adults tend to solve these "problems." But at least we had those hours after school, where we got to play without grown-ups always there with their greater "wisdom." 

Those pine cone fights, perhaps more than any object lesson in caring for others, are why I'm gentle today.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

How It Should Be And How It Isn't



































In the immediate aftermath of the shooting of a jaywalking teenager by an out-of-control cop in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that understandably lead a neighborhood to protest in the streets, I wrote a post decrying the extreme, militaristic, anti-democratic police response, one that unnecessarily made the streets of a small American town into a war zone.

I was living in downtown Seattle in 1999 when the World Trade Organization met here. At the time, I had just returned from living in Germany with my wife, we had a two-year-old daughter, and, frankly, my attentions were turned almost totally inward, focusing on this new life our family was creating together. In other words, I wasn't at all politicized in those days and, in fact, knew little if anything about the WTO. But obviously, others did. As tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets to exercise their First Amendment rights, the police turned out in full-on military gear, with military weaponry. 

My initial instinct was to side with the cops. After all, world leaders had honored our city by choosing it as a venue for their important talks and these gnarly protesters were wrecking the chamber of commerce opportunity. But that all changed when I decided to walk around to see what was happening. What I found were lines of tense, threatening cops, men and women literally dressed to kill standing across from people singing, chanting, and waving signs. At one point, I got caught up in some sort of aggressive "corralling" maneuver, whereby the police were marching upon a clutch of protestors, riot shields raised, guns ready, apparently attempting to drive everyone away from some central location. Tear gas was launched at us. I ran to avoid the affects. At times the entire downtown area seemed to be under a fog of tear gas.

I'd been a part of a few protests and rallies in my past, but had never experienced anything like this. The police had always been around, but these cops were aggressively fighting against American citizens rather than supporting them in their exercise of free speech. Yes, a few petty criminals used the cover of the protesting crowd to commit acts of vandalism and theft as happened in Ferguson and during the Occupy protests, but from my position as a truly "innocent" bystander, the police had abdicated their role to catch law-breakers and were simply holding everyone responsible for the acts of a few. The assumption of collective guilt is always wrong: and they were doing it as an occupying army. It does not get any more undemocratic than this.

It's not just Ferguson or Seattle. Policing right across our nation is out of control: I've come to think of them as just another "gang," one that is armed to the teeth. I wanted to start with the idea that it was just a matter of the proverbial "bad apples," because, after all, I didn't want to be responsible for the same sort of guilt by association I'd seen from the police, but as long as cops continue to protect their own, as long as they continue to close ranks behind a "blue wall," they are participating in a criminal conspiracy to cover-up crimes. This makes them all bad cops. The reason I support the people of Ferguson, who are still in the streets, is that the courts have proven totally incapable of convicting these "bad apples" even when it gets that far, largely due to the fact that their fellow gang members refuse to honestly testify against them. We already know that internal investigations will result in, at worst, a slap on the wrist (although in their "defense," one cop was forced to resign, presumedly with full benefits, for pointing a rifle into a journalist's camera and threatening to kill him). It's with a truly heavy heart that I confess that I have no faith whatsoever that there will be justice in the death of that Ferguson teenager. 

These days, it appears that the court of public opinion is the only court we have when it comes to bad cops. 

It's gotten so that I no longer counsel my teenager to seek out an officer if she feels threatened in downtown Seattle, in part because I'm worried she'll wind up getting shot (I can't even imagine what it must be like to be the parent of a black teen). I instead tell her to duck into the nearest shop because, at least, I know the police are committed to protecting commerce.

It's gotten so that foreign governments are warning their citizens traveling in America about the criminality of our police forces. That's right, they are being warned about our police, rather than our criminals.

It's gotten so that the use of police SWAT raids, military-style invasions of homes and businesses, have increased from about 3,000 a year in the 1980's, to over 50,000 a year today, often to arrest unarmed, petty criminals, causing death and injury to hundreds of innocent people including young children.

And it's getting worse:

The nation gaped at the sight of a military-grade Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle trundling through Ferguson, but it turns out that was relatively restrained policing. Relative, that is, to San Diego, where police will use a similar steel behemoth for the city's schools. The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.

That's right: now even school police have tanks. I'll bet that will make the teachers think twice before complaining about pay or working conditions or, well, just about anything. I'm guessing this takes going on strike off the table. I reckon we won't be hearing about any San Diego high schoolers engaging in any sort of righteous civil actions like the kids sometimes do in Seattle

This militarization of America's police forces, both in terms of weaponry and mentality, must stop. It is an undemocratic, un-American development, one that should outrage all of us. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, the man in charge during the WTO protests, hardly a bleeding-heart, is one of the few cops courageous enough to step out from behind the blue wall and tell the truth about what is going on. Of course, he had to resign to do that. He's been making the rounds lately, promoting his new book Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of American Policing (which I've not read), regretting the mistakes the SPD made in 1996, and calling for the de-militarization of American police forces. I chose to embed this clip because it's the most entertaining, but you can find much more serious discussion with a quick Google search.




As I wrote in my former post on this topic:

You might ask, what does this have to do with teaching and learning from preschoolers? My job as an educator is to prepare children to assume the rights and responsibilities of self-governance, of citizenship, and this right to peaceful protest is one of them. I took my own daughter to some of the Occupy Seattle protests, but had second thoughts when I saw the vicious brutality implied in the garb, armaments, and attitude of so-called law enforcement. Those guys came prepared for a fight even when none was offered. They shouted, commanded, and threw their weight around like a pack of sociopathic thugs. Early on in the protests I tried to sidle up to cops and chat with them, but those days faded away as the weeks wore on. Soon my friendly comments were met with curses and threats. I had become their enemy simply by virtue of how I chose to exercise my rights and responsibilities as a citizen. 

I've heard that some of my readers don't care for these "political" posts. I'm sorry. I sometimes wish I didn't write them, but in all honesty I see no difference between these posts and the cute anecdotes from the classroom: these are all stories of democracy, both how it should be and how it isn't.

UPDATE: I had to add this video clip of a news report about a 70 lb. teenage girl who was wrestled to the ground by three cops, not for breaking the law, but for violating a school policy about mobile phones. It's unbelievable to me that grown-ups can't figure out a better way to deal with a little sass than through pure brutality. This is not a funny one. This is what militarization and lack of accountability looks like:

Sadly, I couldn't get the clip to embed, but here's a link.


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

One More Chair



































I've been exploring lately the idea of not merely reforming, but transforming education (here, here, here, and here). It appears I'm not alone. What's next?

I'm here to change the world, and if I'm not, I'm probably wasting my time. ~Utah Phillips

Based upon the responses I've received over the past several days, it's clear that a lot of early childhood educators are "with me" when it comes to fighting for the transformation of education in America. This doesn't surprise me, of course, I've been engaging in public dialog with my fellow teachers here on the blog for the past six years, but when I write that sentence, it sure sounds as pie-in-the-sky as anything I've ever written, and as an idealist, I've imagined lots of pie-in-the-sky.

I want a transformation. We want a transformation. Heck, as misguided as he is, Bill Gates wants a transformation, but despite his billions it's becoming increasingly clear it ain't gonna happen on his watch. Why? Because, and I'm as surprised by this as anyone, it appears we still have a democracy: reformation, let alone transformation, can only happen when we all have a voice.

The big system can be pretty overwhelming. We know that we can't beat them by competing with them. What we can do is build small systems where we live and work that serve our needs as we define us and not as they're defined for us. The big boys in their shining armor are up there on castle walls hurling their thunderbolts. We're the ants patiently carrying sand a grain at a time from under the castle wall. We work from the bottom up. The knights up there don't see the ants and don't know what we're doing. They'll figure it out only when the wall begins to fall. It takes time and quiet persistence. Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they're going to run out of money before we run out of time. ~Utah Phillips

I took a look at what the White House says it's got planned for our youngest citizens and confirmed that it's mostly just more of the Race To The Top, competition, rigor, and accountability crap that comes right out of those meetings of the "elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists" he promised he would tap for the job, while excluding the rest of us. Still, it's not all bad stuff. I certainly like the idea of "preschool for all" and "boosting" the availability of childcare, especially for low-income families, although I'm sure we disagree on how to define "high-quality." There's probably no better use of our education dollars than to spend them on "empowering parents." And I don't necessarily quibble with the other goals, although the evidence is that without the voices of teachers, parents, and students helping to navigate, they've managed to Keystone Cop their way into the mud. To quote our president: "After they drove the car into the ditch . . . now they want the keys back. No! You can't drive."

Of course, that's where the car-driving metaphor falls apart, because to do something as big and as important as transforming education in America, the one-driver scenario is still going to wind us up in a ditch.

The best metaphor I can come up with, and it's far from genius, is a gigantic round table, big enough to accommodate one more chair. No one ever said democracy would be fast or easy. When New Zealand, with a population of less than 4.5 million, developed it's beloved Te Whāriki national early childhood curriculum framework, the first stage alone, from conception to publication, took five years, but with some parts not being completed for another 15. An even more diverse nation of over 300 million might, logically, take longer than that. In other words, transformation isn't a goal, it's a process: a long, deliberative one at that. But, you know, at the deepest level, we already spend all our time on the planet engaged in process, so why should this be different?

So, I suggest that the first step in this long journey is to start by finding a table big enough to accommodate one more chair. Our federal government has a table, but the chairs are apparently already full. We could march on DC and demand seats as many have suggested over the past several days, and maybe that's the way to go: maybe the first part of our process is shouting so loudly that they have to listen to us. And when we're successful, that will still mean there are millions of other voices that need to be heard, so we will then need to begin demanding more chairs.

I'm willing to take that approach and see it's merits, but I've been thinking about another way to go: maybe we need to build our own table, one that is from the start designed to accommodate one more chair. 

I guarantee, that if I am elected, I will take over the White House, hang out, shoot pool, scratch my ass, and not do a damn thing . . . Which is to say, if you want something done, don't come to me to do it for you; you got to get together and figure out how to do it yourselves. Is that a deal?  ~Utah Phillips

In other words, I'm thinking that the only way to get this long process going is to get together and figure out how to do it ourselves, and the first thing is to start listening to each other: public school teachers, preschool teachers, special ed teachers, private school teachers, university professors; parents, parents of all colors and ethnicities, wealthy, poor and middle class parents, parents of children with special needs; children of all ages and of all backgrounds; business, non-profit, and philanthropic leaders, representing concerns of all sizes and from all economic and social sectors; scientists, researchers, historians, and others with specialized knowledge and wisdom . . . 

Then we begin to talk, listen, agree, while always reaching out to those who might not agree and invite them to sit at our table. I think the goal is a beloved early childhood curriculum framework like the one they have created and are creating in New Zealand, but I'm probably wrong. Maybe we start by creating "small systems where we live and work." Maybe it's a process of one school at a time, one district at a time, one city at a time, one state at a time. In the end, the best process cannot be determined from where we are now. It will have to emerge from the talking, listening, and agreeing.

And the table must always be big enough to accommodate one more chair, even for the "knights" who fall from their castle walls.

Every day, talk to at least two people who don't agree with you. It's the only way it is going to get done. ~Utah Phillips

So, I guess I'm opening it up to you. Maybe a good place to start is by creating a more complete list of those we know must be represented around our table, because I know mine is incomplete. Let's start figuring out how to do this ourselves. Indeed, that's the only way anything ever gets done.

What's next?


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This Is Not A Point Of Pride


































Tomorrow evening is our "fall" orientation. The parents of all three of the Woodland Park cooperative schools classes were already together in the spring to begin the collaborative project of creating our 2013-14 school year, and many of us saw each other during the summer in a sort of ad hoc manner. But this fall orientation is the real kick-off, the time when we make sure to fill any unfilled jobs, to finalize the schedules, and to make sure we're all on the same page.


This is the week when we remind the parents of two-year-olds not to freak out if their child hits or gets hit. This is the week we remind families of younger kids not to freak out when the older ones seem so much bigger and bolder. And this is the week that we remind the parents of the oldest kids not to freak out about their children being ready for kindergarten by the end of the year: they will be.


And this is the week that I say to each of the classes: "Expect your child to come home each day covered in water, paint, mud, and even blood."


It usually sends a slightly nervous chuckle around the room. Naturally, we're hoping for less of the blood than the other things, but I want the bar to be set from the beginning. I've said this to the parents before, but this week, the week before we start school, I want them to really hear it, to be ready for the mess that accompanies a play-based curriculum.


Not every child will get messy every day. And some children will avoid messes like the plague. But they will all at some point come home dripping, sticky, or slimy. We try to use washable materials, but there are some fabrics combined with certain gunk that will not come fully clean, at least not completely or right away. 


Both the children and the adults, because they work in the classroom alongside me, are expected to arrive dressed for the prospect of mess. I deal with it by only changing my t-shirts each day, wearing the same pants all week, peeling them off on Fridays for a good hot wash. And being Seattle, of course, we're all going to need rain gear, winter gear, and if one is sensitive to damp, crusty clothing, extra gear to change into when the play is done.


This is not a point of pride. We don't make a mess for the sake of making a mess. It is the inevitable outcome of learning what we want and need to learn through play. We learn with all five senses, with our full bodies: that's the only way to learn with our full minds.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Who's With Me?


































My last three posts have circled around the idea of what it would mean to not just reform, but totally transform education in America (here, here, and here). 

The corporate education "reformers," lead by dilettantes such as Bill Gates have taken an ideologically driven approach, imposing a faith-based regime of standardized curricula and high stakes standardized testing, magnifying the worst of the past, while ignoring the voices of education professionals, parents, and students. They have manufactured their own "research," based not on how humans best learn, building on the work of education giants such as Piagett, Vygotsky, and Montessori, but rather focusing narrowly on how children function in schools. It's like claiming to understand tigers by studying them in a zoo. And from this, they've fashioned a Dickensian set of devices that have been working their way downward over this past decade from high school toward our youngest children.

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we've apparently been spared the brunt of it until recently, but now it's here and it's getting ugly. Up until 2012, one hundred percent of my former students surveyed told me, without question, that kindergarten "is better than preschool." For the past two years, their responses have been much less enthusiastic, even from the ones who have thrived, while a small, but significant percentage have been reduced to tears and the kind of self-doubt that, according to their parents, leads them to question their ability to learn.

We have not changed what we do at Woodland Park. We proudly offer a progressive, play-based curriculum, based upon the best science about how children learn. We send enthusiastic, motivated, curious, self-directed learners out in to the world. Kindergarten has changed, with a heightened emphasis on developmentally inappropriate "academics," and it is not sitting well with children who expect, as they properly should, to be in charge of their own learning.

Yesterday, a former parent posted this on Facebook (edited to protect privacy):

Not happy about kindergarten, for many reasons. One of which is that his teacher won't allow them to make paper airplanes at school. So we made them at home. And he can fold one all by himself now. What his teacher doesn't understand yet is that paper airplanes are a study of science for this kid-engineer. With a discussion of symmetry, creasing, and types of triangles, (he) practiced unaided until he got it. We tested grandma and grandpa's design versus mommy's design and discussed the attributes of each. Yesterday, we studied painting in grandma's house for about 10 minutes, making astute observations of the feeling and mood portrayed, characters and setting. Discussing Impressionism. Before bed we observed a diagram of the moon rotating and revolving around the Earth as the Earth rotated and revolved around the sun, refreshing our vocabulary for these processes. All of this . . . He led. I hope his total anger toward kindergarten fizzles soon.

People often ask those of us who teach in play-based preschools, "But how to they adapt to traditional school?" Up until recently, the answer has been, "Just fine." But this is no longer even traditional school: from where I sit, kindergarten is rapidly turning into a test score coal mine employing child labor to earn profits for corporations like Microsoft and Pearson Education. I'd say that "total anger" is an appropriate response.

I will not drill-and-kill preschoolers, I will not pre-grind their noses, I will not turn my back on the science of education in order to somehow "prepare" them for this. Indeed, developmentally appropriate play-based education is the only preparation there is. In the words of Sydney Guerwitz Clemons, "We don't starve to prepare for a famine. We fatten them up to the best of our ability and hope they survive."

It's not our job to get children ready for kindergarten. We are sending them enthusiastic, motivated, curious, self-directed learners. It's kindergarten's responsibility to get ready for them as they are doing in Ontario, Canada where play-based kindergartners are at the lead in transforming elementary schools.

I've come to the conclusion that if we are going to transform education, it is going to have to come from the "bottom" up. What we are doing in our play-based preschools follows the science of how children learn and places democracy at its center. As I suggested yesterday, the process that lead to New Zealand's beloved Te Whāriki early childhood curriculum framework could be an appropriate model for us. 

In President Obama's most recent State of the Union address he announced that his administration was coming after us next:

"And as Congress decides what it's going to do, I'm going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need."

Please note that he makes no mention of including professional educators or parents in this process. He's turning to the same cast of "jobs of tomorrow" dilettantes who brought us the anti-democratic fiasco of Common Core, across the board standardization, job and college prep for kindergarteners, and high stakes standardized testing. I don't claim to know how to do this, but we must begin our own process: a democratic one that honors the voices of government and business, yes, but that leans primarily upon the science of how children best learn, the experience of professional educators, the love of parents, and the promise of democracy.

Preschool teachers can lead this and increasingly it's looking like we must lead this. A revolution is coming. Who's with me?


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