Friday, December 17, 2010

When I Think of Child Development …

I think of play.

I finished the title sentence because I truly believe that play is such an important piece to child development.

As I searched books and websites for quotes that really spoke about my feeling about childhood development and play, I came across the one’s listed below. It was hard for me to choose because they were all said what I have always spoken of play. I had to stop myself because I could have gone on listing the quotes. I hope they are as meaningful to as you as they are for me.

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning… They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.
- Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood

It has become increasingly clear through research on the brain as well as in other area of study, that childhood needs play. Play acts as a forward feed mechanism into courageous, creative, and rigorous thinking in adulthood.
- Tina Bruce, professor, London Metropolitan University

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.
- Roger von Oech, President, Creative Think

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a in a year of conversation.
- Plato, Greek Philosopher

Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for I alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.
- Friedrich Froebel, Father of modern Kindergarten

Today’s children are controlled by the expectations, schedules, whims, and rules of adults. Play is the only time they can take control of the world.
- Sheila G. Flaxman

I would like to say thank you to all my colleagues for giving great feedback and for sharing your experiences with me. I hope to collaborate with you in future courses.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Testing for Intelligence?

Considering a commitment to viewing young children holistically (i.e., a commitment to “the whole child”), what, if anything, do you believe should be measured or assessed? Explain your reasoning.

There should not be a standard assessment for young children. These types of test only measure whether or not a child has the ability to perform well on tests. It is, quite frankly, stressful on students, a stress that is not necessary. And ince evry child does not test well, how are we fairly assessing what a child does and does not know. I may be an exceptional student and test poorly, or an average student, but test extremely well.

Young children, as we have learned, should be given the opportunity to explore their environment. The current assessments take away a child’s natural tendency toward learning and education, as well as a teacher’s ability to challenge her student’s with new information.

The word educate has its roots in Latin (meaning to bring out or bring forth). I found the best definition comes from Webster when it states to educate is,” to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically, especially through instruction.

I have also found quotes from Socrates which validates my reasons for eliminating the process of standardized assessments:

"Educating the mind without the heart is no education at all.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.”

“Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

In what ways are school-age children assessed in other parts of the world? (Choose a country or region of the world for which you have a personal affinity.)

I was surfing the internet to find a concrete way in which children in other countries are assessed and found some interesting facts about Finland. There was mention of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This assessment was given to children in various nations, and Finland was found to have a smaller amount of disparities in high and low rankings and the U.S. had one of the highest. Here is an example of the educational structure in Finland:

The Finnish school system uses the same curriculum for all students (which may be one reason why Finnish scores varied so little from school to school).

Students have light homework loads.

Finnish schools do not have classes for gifted students.

Finland uses very little standardized testing.

Children do not start school until age 7

Finland has a comprehensive preschool program that emphasizes "self-
reflection" and socializing, not academics.

Grades are not given until high school, and even then, class rankings are not compiled.

Teachers must have master's degrees.

Becoming a teacher in Finland is highly competitive. Just 10% of Finnish college graduates are accepted into the teacher training program; as a result, teaching is a high-status profession. (Teacher salaries are similar to teacher salaries in the U.S., however.)

Students are separated into academic and vocational tracks during the last three years of high school. About 50% go into each track.

Diagnostic testing of students is used early and frequently. If a student is in need of extra help, intensive intervention is provided.

Groups of teachers visit each others' classes to observe their colleagues at work. Teachers also get one afternoon per week for professional development.

School funding is higher for the middle school years, the years when children are most in danger of dropping out.

College is free in Finland. (Wilde)


Wilde, Marian. "Global Grade: How do U.S. Students Compare?" 1998-2010. Great Schools. 10 December 2010 .

What additional ideas, comments, suggestions, examples, and/or concerns related to assessing young children would you like to share with your colleagues?

We have encountered a very serious issue in our educational system. Teachers are teaching for tests sake, not for the sake of a well developed individual. By “test-teaching’, children are no longer being encouraged to look within to discover all the possibilities knowledge can offer , they are being forced to regurgitate concepts developed to bring revenue to a school district. Children are not machines that require programming and updated, they are whole human beings equipped with the power of reasoning and problem solving. I don’t believe it is the fault of the teachers. New laws have taken teacher’s authority and creativity out of the classroom.