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ERIC Number: ED504839
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 72
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School
Miller, Edward; Almon, Joan
Alliance for Childhood (NJ3a)
Kindergarten has changed significantly in the last two decades: children now spend more time being taught and tested on literacy and math skills than they do learning through play and exploration, exercising their bodies, and using their imaginations. Many kindergartens use highly prescriptive curricula geared to new state standards and linked to standardized tests. In an increasing number of kindergartens, teachers must follow scripts from which they may not deviate. These practices, argue the authors, violate long-established principles of child development and good teaching, and compromise both children's health and their long-term prospects for success in school. The authors direct this report to policymakers, educators, health professional, researchers and parents to: (1) Restore child-initiated play and experiential learning to a central role in kindergarten education; (2) Reassess kindergarten standards to ensure that they promote developmentally appropriate practices, and eliminate those that do not; (3) End the inappropriate use in kindergarten of standardized tests; (4) Expand the early childhood research agenda to examine the long-term impact of current preschool and kindergarten practices on the development of children from diverse backgrounds; (5) Give teachers of young children preparation that emphasizes the full development of the child and the importance of play, nurtures children's innate love of learning, and supports teachers' own capacities for creativity, autonomy, and integrity; and (6) Rally organizations and individuals to create a national movement for play in schools and communities. Additional contributors include David Elkind (Foreword) and Vivian Gussin Paley (Afterword.) Two appendixes are included: (1) A Call to Action on the Education of Young Children; and (2) Definitions. (Contains 106 endnotes, 5 charts and 4 tables.) [Research and funding for this report was provided by the Woodshouse Foundation, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the NoVo Foundation, RSF Social Finance, the Kalliopeia Foundation, Bay Area Early Childhood Funders, the Newman's Own Foundation, and Community Playthings.]
Alliance for Childhood. P.O. Box 444, College Park, MD 20741. Tel: 301-779-1033; Fax: 301-779-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Kindergarten
Audience: Parents; Teachers; Practitioners; Researchers; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alliance for Childhood
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001