Early childhood is the time in our lives when we develop our core dispositions – the habits of thinking that shape how we live; our work as early childhood educators is to nurture dispositions in young children towards empathy, ecological consciousness, engaged inquiry, and collaboration. These dispositions undergird just and equitable communities; they are at the heart of activism and in the heart of activists.
– Ann Pelo, Rethinking Early Childhood Education
We have heard from many of you who are working hard to keep developmentally appropriate teaching, learning and assessing in our early childhood classrooms. As we know, current education reform is often working against these goals. In response to your call, we have created this Early Childhood Activist Toolkit to help you advocate in schools, communities and nationwide for more child-directed, play-based learning. Check out our INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES, ACTION RESOURCES as well as our ACTION MINI GRANTS initiative. Also check out the DEY Mobilizing Kit and DEY Power Point Presentation, and DEY’s advocacy reports and publications.
- All of DEY’s research-based advocacy papers, videos, position papers and more are available to download for free- click here.
- Changing Times, Changing Play: Why Does it Matter? by Diane Levin [pdf]
- Common Core State Standards: Are They Failing Our Kids by Defending the Early Years (DEY)
- Crisis in Early Education: A Researched-Based Case for more Play and Less Pressure by Joan Almon and Ed Miller [pdf]
- Reading at Five: Why? by Joan Almon [pdf]
- A Research-Based Case for Recess by Olga Jarrett/ the US Play Coalition [pdf]
- Rethinking Early Childhood Education edited by Ann Pelo [An inspiring anthology of stories of teaching for social justice in the early childhood years – from the pages of Rethinking Schools.]
- Test Stress and Our Children – fact sheets and related documentation from Parents Across America
- A Year at Mission Hill [From the makers of August to June, this video series captures the life a progressive public school in Boston – plus a wealth of resources for each chapter.]
- Gesell Institute’s The Role of Play in the Overly Academic Kindergarten Narrated by Marcy Guddemi, Executive Director
- What Kindergarten Should Be A Tedx Talk by Dr. Doris Fromberg
- When Education Goes Wrong: Taking the Creativity and Play Out of Learning A Tedx Talk by Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige
- The Learning Child Series [videos and booklets] produced by Jonathan Diamond Associates in collaboration with Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Institute
- For even more information resources click here.
- *NEW* We have added this page specifically about the PARCC tests
- DEY Mobilizing Kit – original toolkit for planning and hosting a community forum or information session. Includes DEY’s DEY Power Point Presentation
- Call-Your-Legislator Day ToolKit from Network for Public Education
- 8 Steps to Work for Testing Reform by FairTest
- 8 Ways to Fight High-Stakes Testing by FairTest
- A Guide for Parents: Advocating for Your Child in the Early Years from United National Opt Out and DEY
- How One Group Held a ‘Play-In’ to Promote Early Childhood Education
- Karel Kilimnik’s Top Tips for Activists
- Opting Out of High-Stakes Testing ToolKit from United Opt Out National
- Parents Across America Advocacy Tool Kit for Parents, Teachers and Communities
- Right to Recess Campaign ToolBox from Peaceful Playgrounds
ACTION MINI GRANTS
We are excited to offer this mini grant initiative to help foster your good work in your community as related to DEY’s three principle goals:
We are offering grants from $200.00 to $500.00 and are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis beginning. Applications will be reviewed and up to 20 awards will be granted (depending on grant sizes). Possible actions include, but are not limited to:
- Hosting a parent information meeting
- Organizing a Call Your Legislator Day
- Spearheading a letter writing campaign to politicians
- Organizing a “Play-In” at the local school board
- Publicizing an “Opt Out” campaign
- Hosting a viewing and conversation of chapter or two from A Year at Mission Hill; or When a Child Pretends from the Sarah Lawrence Series (see above)
- Holding an Open Forum for community members and stake holders (DEY supporting materials coming soon).
- Whatever else you may think of…
Download the mini grant application here.
Email your completed application to Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin at DEYdirector@gmail.com and please use the subject line “Mini Grant Application”.