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Save Our Schools March & National Call to Action July 28-31 2011

I am going to Washington DC today to attend the Save Our Schools Conference, Rally, March and Call to Action.

I am going because I am tired of politicians, businessmen and billionaires making harmful decisions about our schools and our children; because high-stakes testing is not the answer to making better schools; and one [...]

Dear Michelle Obama:

The good news is, someone on the White House Task Force for childhood obesity was listening. This week, Michelle Obama sent an email releasing their report, and among the many recommendations, was restoring recess!

Recommendation 5.4: State and local educational agencies should be encouraged to promote recess for elementary students and physical activity breaks for [...]

Recess (It’s not just for Congressmen.)

“I am so happy!” my son declared recently as he got off the school bus. What made him so happy that day? In a word:  recess. His class had gone outside to play.

So much is working against recess these days – with one major factor being the high stakes testing that came with No [...]

Racing toward all children left behind

Considering the fact that the test-prep pressures of No Child Left Behind have already wreaked havoc on developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood classrooms, the impending common-core standards will do nothing but add further damage. These proposed standards come with the federal Race to the Top funding. States must agree to adopt these standards – [...]

Playing to Learn – thank you Susan Engel!

Earlier this week there was an absolutely beautiful op-ed piece in the NY Times, Playing to Learn by Susan Engel. In light of  Obama’s proposed changes to No Child Left Behind, Susan Engel describes further changes – ones that would truly impact teaching and learning for the better. “Our current educational approach — and the [...]

Playful learning is more than just Sight Word BINGO

This weekend my sons had four days off from school. They played and built; wrote thank you notes and get well cards; did some baking with their dad and helped clean the house. An excellent time all around.

I am worried tonight, though, because I know tomorrow will be tough for my two five-year-olds. Kindergarten [...]

Learning through play and keeping good teachers

Today I am making final preparations for the Coalition of Essential School’s Annual Fall Forum in New Orleans. I’ll be co-presenting on play and democratic classrooms – Who’s the Boss: Empowering Students to Get Down to the Business of Learning Through Play. Presenting at the CES Fall Forum is something that always energizes me. Being [...]

Kinder kindergartens, please!

This Peanuts cartoon, originally published in 1962, was reprinted this week. It was just another sad reminder about how much kindergarten has changed. The truth is, now there are many anxious and stressed-out kids in kindergarten. Sally wouldn’t be alone in her need for therapy. (She’d probably have to stand in line!)

In the Sunday [...]

Healthy Media Choices: follow-up, reflection and new directions

Thanks to all of you who tuned in on Tuesday to the Healthy Media Choices Hour radio show. It was great fun for me, and talking with Mary Rothschild was a perfect opportunity to cross-pollinate and share ideas. Look on her site for a link to Mary’s blog, too. We talked about so much, but [...]

"Play is like fertilizer for brain growth." – Dr. Stuart Brown

I am reading a new book by Stuart Brown, M.D. and Christopher Vaughn. I was browsing in a book store, and of course the title jumped out at me – Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul. The author’s name was familiar, as I’d heard of him as the [...]