Recommended Reading and Resources

Many of our recommended resources can be found within our Early Childhood Activist Toolkit. And for all of DEY’s publications to date, click here. Below is a growing list of additional books and articlesvideos, and websites that can help you advocate for young children and defend children’s right to play, grow, and learn in an era of misguided standards and harmful assessments:



Changing Times, Changing Play – What Does it Matter? by Diane Levin, Child Care Exchange, September/October 2012

A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Playby Vivian Gussin Paley (or any of the many books by Vivian Gussin Paley), University of Chicago Press

The Classrooms All Young Children Need by Patricia M. Cooper, University of Chicago Press

The Crisis in Early Education: A Research-Based Case of More Play and Less Pressure by Joan Almon and Ed Miller (Alliance for Childhood states: “This four-page article succinctly makes the case for play-based education.”)

The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch, Basic Books

The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents by Peter Gray, American Journal of Play, volume 3, number 4. © 2011 by The Strong. (a .pdf)

Defending Childhood edited by Beverly Falk, Teachers College Press

Different Learners:  Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Your Child’s Learning Problems by Jane M. Healy, Simon & Schuster

Education Reform is Malpractice by Steve Nelson, Huffington Post on July 22, 2015

ECA EYF Unhurried Pathways by Early Childhood Action. This is a free .pdf version of the report published in Winchester, England in October 2012

Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology and Early Education by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Alliance for Childhood, & Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment

Finnish Lessons by Pasi Sahlberg, Teachers College Press

The Flat World and Education by Linda Darling-Hammond, Teachers College Press

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray

How Ed Policy is Hurting Early Childhood Education by Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane Levin for The Answer Sheet at The Washington Post

LET THE CHILDREN PLAY: Nature’s Answer to Early Learning By Jane Hewes, PhD, Chair of the Early Childhood Education Program,Grant MacEwan College Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (a .pdf)

Let the Kids Learn Through Play by David Kohn, New York Times, May 17, 2015.

A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Applying the Scientific Evidence by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Laura E. Berk and Dorothy Singer, Oxford University Press

New York’s Common Core Pre-K Standards: They’re Not Kidding Around by Susan Ohanian.

Play and Learning In Early Care and Education Settings A Key Topic Resource ListResearch Connections conducted a comprehensive search of its collection for resources focused on play and early learning. This Key Topic Resource List includes a listing of selected resources on the role of play in early development and learning.

Playing for Keeps: Life and Learning on a Public School Playground by Deborah Meier, Brenda S. Engel and Beth Taylor, Teachers College Press

Reclaiming Childhood by William Crain, Owl Books

Seen and Heard: Children’s Rights in Early Childhood Education by Ellen Lynn Hall and Jennifer Kofkin Rudkin, Teachers College Press

The Serious Need for Play, by Melinda Wenner for Scientific American Mind, February/March 2009

Standards of Experience by Dr. Lilian Katz, Collage Magazine

Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Plume

A Tough Critique of Common Core on Early Childhood Education by Ed Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige

The War Play Dilemma by Diane E. Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Teachers College Press

Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School by Alison Gopnik for Slate, March 16, 2011


DEY’s video Lively Minds

DEY’s video Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose – with the Alliance for Childhood

DEY’s workshop presentation at Network for Public Education’s national conference in April, 2015

A Year at Mission Hill 10-part video series chronicling the rhythms and relationships of a year in the life of one of America’s most successful public schools

The Learning Child Series produced by Jonathan Diamond Associates in collaboration with Sarah Lawrence College Child Development Institute

Occupy the DOE 2.0 : a series of YouTube videos from a range of speakers, including Diane RavitchDeborah MeierNancy Carlsson-Paige and more.

Reclaiming the Conversation on Education: a series of YouTube videos created from the May 4, 2013 Edu4 conference at Barnard College. Susan Ohanian, Nancy Carlsson-Paige and many others.

Reinvent Education by Robert Reich: a two minute call to action from

The Role of Play in the Overly Academic Kindergarten by the Gesell Institute. This seven and a half minute YouTube video is well worth your time and is easily shared with others. “Play is being banished from kindergarten classrooms across the U.S. Learn how this is impacting the nation’s youth. Narrated by Marcy Guddemi, Executive Director of the Gesell Institute”

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


Alliance for Childhood
At the Chalk Face – including Shaun Johnson and Tim Slekar’s progressive education radio show every Sunday at 6 pm
Bridging Differences Deborah Meier’s blog at Education Week
CCFC Campaign for a Commercial- Free Childhood
The CAYL Institute  Community Advocates for Young Learners
Child Development Institute Sarah Lawrence College
Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting
Collage Magazine Community Playthings
CEASE  – (Now PEACE) Concerned Educators Allied for a Safe Environment
Early Childhood Leadership Institute University of D.C.
Early Childhood Action, Winchester, England
ECE PolicyMatters, Susan Ochshorn
FairTest The National Center for Fair and Open Testing
Gesell Institute of Child Development
Network for Public Education
Mission Hill School Progressive Public School in Boston, MA
Parents Across America
Save Childhood Movement, based in England
SOS Save Our Schools
Susan Ohanian
TRUCE Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment