January Update
January 2014
CommonCoreResistance Grows to Common Core Standards

This week the board of the New York State teachers union (600,000 strong) pulled back its earlier support of Common Core. Politico described the NYSUT position in this way: "It wants more time for teachers to review the Common Core lessons the state has been promoting, and it's demanding more input on whether they are grade appropriate. Parents and teachers have complained that the standards push the youngest kids too fast, demanding so much work from kindergarteners that there's little time for the play that's deemed essential for young children's development."

For more information see Valerie Strauss' article in the Washington Post and an in-depth NPR report.

When the Common Core State Standards were being written in 2010, the Alliance for Childhood called for the removal of the K-3 standards so that they could be approached from a more developmental perspective. Our statement was signed by leading educators. The standards were adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia but many are rethinking their support. This has become a bipartisan issue and the kindergarten standards are one of the key concerns.


Students May Be Disadvantaged by Starting School at 5 Years Old

In related news, an Australian newspaper reports that the countries that did best in the much-respected PISA test started formal teaching at 6 or 7, not 5 as we increasingly do in the U.S. The article quotes David Whitebread, a Cambridge University expert in the cognitive development of young children, saying ''overwhelming evidence suggests that 5 is just too young to start formal learning." He adds that children should be engaged in informal play-based learning until about age 7.

EventsUpcoming Events

* The US Play Coalition's Conference on the Value of Play will take place Feb. 16-19 in Clemson, South Carolina. Alliance co-founder Joan Almon and Director Linda Rhoads will be presenting a workshop entitled "The Value of Adventurous Play and Risk in Childhood." Hope to see you there!

* The ACEI Global Summit in Vancouver will be held April 10-13. As part of the Decade for Childhood ambassador program, Linda Rhoads will lead a session on leadership and advocacy. She will also co-facilitate a concluding program to help participants take action on ideas gleaned from the summit.

NewsAlliance News

* On Nov. 15 Joan Almon spoke at the 92nd St. Y on "Dynamic Education in an Era of Rigorous Curriculum, Accountability and Standards." View the talk here.

* Last Dec. 11 a panel in Washington, DC entitled "The Word Gap and the Common Core" included Joan Almon as one of four speakers. The event was recorded and can be viewed here.

* The Alliance for Childhood is pleased to welcome our newest Board member Susie Wirth, Nature Explore Outreach Director with the Arbor Day Foundation.

RecentArticlesRecent Articles and Publications

* Adventure: The value of risk in children's play. This booklet, written by Alliance co-founder Joan Almon, explores why children need adventurous play and how they learn to assess risk.


* At the Nov. NAEYC convention, Joan Almon, along with Liza Sullivan and Blakely Bundy of the Chicago-area Alliance for Early Childhood, presented a workshop on "Promoting Play in a 'Race to Nowhere' World." An excellent play resource list was compiled, which can be read here.    


* A Research-Based Case for Recess, authored by Olga S. Jarrett, documents the importance of recess, which has been severely cut back in recent years.


PlayNewsPlay in the News

* Let them build forts! For his Children and Nature Network blog, Richard Louv has written a piece on the lessons to be learned from building tree houses and forts. 

* MediaMom has written an excellent blog entry on the harmful effects of screens on babies, with links to relevant research.

We invite you to keep up with media coverage of issues affecting children by visiting our Facebook page regularly. You'll find many interesting articles from around the country and the world.
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