Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Goal: Encourage early education instructors to put a priority on play time and imaginative exercises to foster lifelong learning in students.
Recently, preschools have become more educational in nature–a precursor to standards like the Common Core and other testing. This is a major shift from play-based learning used to assimilate children into a classroom setting.
Students as young as four or five are now expected to do seat work that was once expected from first graders as a benchmark for future learning. This early commitment to regimented learning is taking away time from playing and other activities that engage students mentally and emotionally. Experts say that a balance must be met between work and play. If parents and teachers expect too much from students, children can quickly become frustrated, lose their love of learning, and their education will suffer in the long-term.
To foster development within classrooms, teachers must find ways to engage children in stimulating ways outside of strict vocabulary and writing lessons. According to experts, spontaneous learning with an emphasis on imaginative exercises and reflection are as vital to a child’s education as worksheets and desk work.
Early education should foster a love of learning in children, and not solely act as a benchmark for state-based learning standards. Please ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to encourage teachers to lift requirements on desk work for young children and to engage their students mentally, physically and emotionally.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Preschool is typically the first interaction children have with regimented learning. It’s a way for kids to make new friends, learn social skills and build a love of learning at an early age. A shift in the way preschools are structured puts an emphasis on desk work instead of the play and creativity vital to a child’s growth.
According to the Child Care Resource Network in Buffalo, children must have a balance between work and play. By requiring young kids to sit quietly behind a desk for hours a day, the school system is harming their mental, social and emotional development. Preschool has ceased to be a safe place for children to grow, but has become a stepping stone for standardized testing and other benchmarks states place on the educational system.
Teachers should feel free to encourage play, silliness and creativity within the classroom to show kids that education can be fun and stimulating. It is not effective to begin teaching with strict lesson plans toward state-based standards at such a young age. Children deserve a caring, fun and gentle approach toward learning to ensure growth throughout their educational career.
At such a young age, kids have much more to learn than vocabulary. We must encourage them to work well with others, basic problem-solving skills and to think outside the box–and some of these lessons cannot be learned on worksheets. Please encourage teachers to loosen their curricula to accommodate the needs of children.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tomwsulcer