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The following statement was developed by and voted on by the Central Branch Preschool Board.
Central Branch Preschool was founded in 1968. We have a long history of offering high quality, equitable programming that encourages a diverse group of children to explore and learn.
We believe in the importance of an early education that supports the whole child, emotionally, socially, physically and cognitively. (bullets)
We believe developing secure relationships with peers and adults in a play-based setting helps create positive attitudes about learning that will last throughout the child’s academic life.
We believe that play is deeply formative for children and is at the core of their learning process
We believe in empowering families, early childhood educators and our communities to have input, influence and a voice in making decisions on this very important issue.
This leads us to support Proposition 1A (Initiative 107) in the upcoming election.
Providing culturally-relevant and developmentally-appropriate care for young children must mean supporting a diverse range of providers and programs. Offering a variety of programming options is crucial to serving a variety of learners. This allows programs to be responsive to the individual needs of communities. Proposition 1A is the only option that is inclusive of all existing programs, including home and center based. In contrast, Proposition 1B will require participating programs to adopt specific, prescribed curriculum and associated assessments that may not be developmentally and culturally appropriate for all early learners. We don’t know what that curriculum will look like.
We have not been invited to the table or seen any curriculum guidelines or plans. We know that children’s development is highly variable and cannot be reduced to test scores or numbers.
Take a moment to reflect on your kindergarten experience. What is it that you remember? For us it is things like painting, paste and naps. Kindergarten was a time to play and experiment. To make friends and learn to get along with others. Today’s kindergarten is very different. Recent accounts suggest that accountability pressures have trickled down into the early elementary grades, and that kindergarten today is characterized by a heightened focus on academic skills. Large national data sets found that kindergarten time on literacy rose by 25 percent from roughly 5.5 to 7 hours per week and exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education all dropped between 1998 and 2006.(1) We are concerned that 1B risks continuing this trend with even younger children by tying program performance and funding to assessment results. Proposition 1A proposes a workforce board made up of local ECE professionals and parents, who work with children on the front lines, every day. Their expertise and experience is vital for creating meaningful programs.
While it is unfortunate that there are two opposing plans on the ballot, the distinctions between the two, cause us to recognize Proposition 1A as a more equitable plan. Of the two plans, 1A has the potential to be more reflective of the community, current early education research, and most importantly, the learning needs of children. We believe this is a great opportunity for our city. As we embark on this journey, we advocate for programs that are thoughtful and intentional about educating young children.
Central Branch Preschool Board
(1) Bassok D., & Rorem A. (2014) Is Kindergarten the new first grade? The changing nature of Kindergarten in the age of accountability. EdPolicyWorks Working Paper Series, No. 20. Retrieved from: http://curry.virginia.edu/uploads/resourceLibrary/20_Bassok_Is_Kindergarten_The_New_First_Grade.pdf