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Challenging Content In The Early Grades: What's Not To Love?

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Bravo! Well said, I agree with you on every point. I am a K-3 teacher. Every learning experience is positive for the young child. The richer the learning experiences the more well developed the mind, language and thought a child will have as s/he grows into an adult. Oral language is the first tool we have for learning and it makes sense that we continue to develop that tool through authentic curriculum in PreK- 5. Learning about science is learning about literacy; both compliment and inform each other. It is schooling that has created artificial separations of learning by labeling them and compartmentalizing them. As educators we should strive for creating curriculum with cycles of learning where children engage in inquiry about topics that are important and relevant in their lives. Thank you! Blanca

Thank you for this. While this is something that good early childhood teachers have known for years, it is exactly the point that so many districts -- in trying to address the achievement gap and align to the Common Core Standards -- are missing. "Rigorous" is not the same thing as rich, engaging, or even challenging. While I wasn't necessarily sad to see a shift away from thematic teaching (as in, "This week we're doing apples") the shift away from integrated curriculum to very discrete lessons ("This is our literacy skills building block") has been detrimental to children's learning, particularly children who won't necessarily get those deep, enriching experiences outside of school. In my district I have seen many excellent kindergarten teachers transfer to 4K classrooms in response to the very narrow, rigid curriculum being imposed in Kindergarten. (Sadly, the 4Ks aren't immune to wrong-thinking either.) If we're going to be data-driven, let's look at the data that shows what kind of curriculum REALLY helps students make long-term gains, not just boosts the next test score.

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