Updated: Jun 8, 2018
When I think back to my kindergarten days with Ms. Brock, I fondly remember learning my letters and discovering new knowledge, but beyond that I remember have an abundance of free time to play. The classroom had an enormous tub of lego's and if allowed I would sit and build every day. My classwork was always completed, but every day, we the students we provided time to be kids and explore.
I had been very fortunate to have had my children educated by individuals who understand this issue plaguing our young students today. For the most part, thus far, the teachers my eldest daughter, Charlotte (6 Years Old), has been in classrooms with nurturing educators. Her pre-school was a play based learning environment and once she progressed to kindergarten, her amazing teacher, Ms. Dallmann, also engaged the students with a myriad of project based learning that allowed the students to think and create.
The department of education needs to take a step back and understand that all of the high stakes focus on cramming knowledge into the little bodies of K-3 students is not rendering improved results. Michigan, as I have already pointed out in earlier posts, is substantially lower in nationwide ratings, however our course has always been to increase rigor and add more. The more studying and reading I do for my PhD. in Music Education, the more I am finding that students need the freedom to explore and own their own learning experience. With this in mind I suggest massive change in regards to adding more freedom to let the experts in the classroom teach each student where they are, with growth in mind, rather than cramming more structure and testing to an already struggling system. Our children deserve more than what is currently happening.
Here is the link for the article where you can read more detail into the reasoning for more play-based learning and free choice options for early childhood education.