Defending the Early Years (DEY) seeks to rally educators to take action on policies that affect the education of young children. The principal goals of the project are:
- To mobilize the early childhood community to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.
- To track the effects of new standards, especially those linked to the Common Core State Standards, on early childhood education policy and practice;
- To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and support educators in counteracting current reforms which undermine these appropriate practices.
The DEY Project is directed by educator and activist Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, founder of Empowered by Play and founding teacher at the Mission Hill School in Roxbury, MA. The senior advisers of the project are Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita at Lesley University, and Diane Levin, Professor of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College.
Other members of the DEY National Advisory Board:
- Indhira Blackwood, Director, Child Development Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, NY
- Sherry Cleary, Executive Director, New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, City University of New York
- Bill Crain, Professor of Psychology, City College of New York
- Stephanie Feeney, Professor Emerita, University of Hawaii at Manoa
- Dr. Doris Pronin Fromberg, Professor of Education, Hofstra University
- Ayla Gavins, Principal, Mission Hill School, Boston
- Constance Kamii, Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Lilian Katz, Professor Emerita & Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, University of Illinois
- Edgar Klugman, Professor Emeritus Wheelock College & Co Founder of Playing for Keeps
- Deborah Meier, author and activist, NY
- Maurice Sykes, Executive Director, Early Childhood Leadership Institute, University of the District of Columbia
Defending the Early Years is a project of the Survival Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization based in Watertown, Massachusetts.