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WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY

6/10/2017

Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as posted in the Stamford Advocate, at  http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Nothing-abstract-about-the-lessons-11208722.php

WHY PLAY IS VITAL IN PRESCHOOL: DEY’S RESPONSE TO THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORT SUPPORTING FLASH CARDS OVER FREE PLAY

6/6/2017

DEY Senior Advisor and Wheelock College professor, Dr. Diane Levin, writes DEY’s response:

At Defending the Early Years (DEY; www.thedeyproject.com) we work to promote appropriate educational practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May 30th article, “Free Play or Flashcards? New Study Nods to More Rigorous Preschools” (NY Times, 5/30/17) no longer solely left us puzzled however raised numerous essential questions.

Should a find out about that determined a 2½-month reap in educational competencies when taught in preschool affect early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up huge chunks of playtime for educational instructing to make such minimal features in tutorial performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the center of attention on tutorial skills?  Studies of Head Start packages that taught educational abilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that positive aspects made in educational overall performance over youth in extra play-based Head Start packages have been usually long past through 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as stated in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing training till age seven, suggests that beginning formal instructing of studying in the past has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is now not enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a baby dabbles from one exercise to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is no longer excellent play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a toddler does emerge as greater totally engaged in an pastime that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a indispensable function in facilitating the play to assist the baby take it further.  The instructor additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math competencies into the play—for instance, through assisting a toddler dictate testimonies about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The instructor can then assist the baby “read” the story at a category meeting.  With block building, the instructor and baby may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper form for her structure.

This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated gaining knowledge of thru play contributes to the many foundational competencies youngsters want for later faculty success, inclusive of self-regulation, social skills, creativity, unique thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and superb attitudes towards problem-solving.  And, in the lengthy run, these foundational capabilities are a great deal greater essential for how kids will experience about and operate later in faculty than the 2½ months reap they would possibly reap from the early talent training acquired in preschool, as suggested in the  New York Times article.

Rather than debating over free play versus flashcards, perhaps we should be asking the bigger questions:

  1. Why are years of research on the benefits of quality play in preschool programs so often ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that educational abilities are so essential to emphasize in preschool as an alternative than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together teenagers for faculty success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and getting to know so frequently handled as if they are  dichotomous, as they seem to be in this report?

NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION RELEASES ITS NPE TOOLKIT: SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION EXPLAINED

4/26/2017

This complete toolkit will reply questions about constitution colleges and college privatization.

HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL

4/8/2017

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Secondary education is now borrowing ideas from early childhood. Published April 7, 2017, in The Hechinger Report, read the full article here.

KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS

4/4/2017

DON’T USE KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

More than forty states both have or are in the system of growing Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have quite a few advantages for educating and learning, the effects can additionally be used inappropriately, in accordance to a latest Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “ Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments.
Read the entire article here.

STOP HUMILIATING TEACHERS

2/22/2017

“Stop Humiliating Teachers” by way of David Denby was once posted in the Feb. 11, 2017 trouble of The New Yorker.

DEY ISSUES A STATEMENT OPPOSING BETSY DEVOS’ NOMINATION FOR SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

1/27/2017

DEY is issuing a statement in opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. 
 
DeVos confirmed in her listening to testimony on January seventeenth that she is profoundly unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education. She used to be unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, desires to privatize public education.  DeVos has a tested records of helping efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we assist the equal probability of each and every younger toddler for an superb education.  We are particularly worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and country efforts to promote regular preschool public education. 
 
For greater statistics about advocacy for fabulous public education, go to DEY’s internet site at  www.thedeyproject.com.

ECE POLICY MATTERS’ SUSAN OCHSHORN DISCUSSES BETSY DE VOS NOMINATION AND DEY’S LATEST REPORT, “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT”

1/22/2017

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THE POWER OF THEIR VOICES: EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS TALK SCHOOL REFORM

(originally published on Jan. 19, 2017)

A former preschool teacher carried the torch for democracy at the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate should to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said.  We owe it t the American people to put families and children first, not billionaires.”

Those had been struggle phrases from the mild-mannered senator from Washington State, and senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.  Especially with Microsoft and Amazon amongst her pinnacle marketing campaign contributors from 2011 to 2016.   But as the consequences of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to electricity is convoluted.  The pacts we make can be Faustian: these days, a former Microsoft govt runs Washington’s branch of early learning.

In the week before the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, called their senators, and entreated members of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit organization based in Boston, released “Teachers Speak Out.” The file highlights the worries of early childhood instructors about the affect of faculty reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their statistics from interviews with 34 educators in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, DC.

The link between socioeconomic status and academic achievement has been firmly established in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 47 percent of children under six years old lived in low-income families near or under the poverty line in 2014. The stage rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American adolescents and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a current survey performed by way of the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and mastering and psychological issues as the pinnacle limitations to scholar success.

Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem.  As Levin and Van Hoorn factor out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and applied by way of humans with correct intentions however frequently little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the knowledge now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim educational competencies at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” instead than the “most good.”

In an change at the hearing, between DeVos and Todd Young, a Republican senator from Indiana, she crowed about our “great opportunity…to  really empower [teachers] in a new way to do what they do best.”   She horrifies educators.  They’ve been leaving the field, exhausted and dispirited, in document numbers.  Respect for the occupation and morale are at an all-time low, as instructors have picked up the slack for a society that starves its faculties and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with top notch power devoted to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some extremely good exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a staff that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and information ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a appreciation shared by means of many, and internalized via these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are considerably much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and stricken with the aid of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The latest practitioners are concerned about inserting their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the report with their critique.

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​As I study via the report, I saved underlining the prices from the teachers, as if to extend them, to raise them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined through a lack of corporation and autonomy:

The have confidence in my knowledge and judgment as a trainer is gone.  So are the play and gaining knowledge of facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a unique lesson and rigidly timed to in shape into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The negative impact of reforms on children’s development and learning can’t be overstated. Practice has become more rote, and standardized, with less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults.  We’re stealing the heart of high-quality early education, as the individual strengths, interests, and needs of children get lost:

With this extreme emphasis on what’s called ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s much harder for my children to become self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to learn to self-regulate by choosing their own activities, participating in ongoing projects with their classmates, or playing creatively.  They have to sit longer, but their attention spans are shorter.

The authors bring us into the classrooms studied by Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally representative data sets to compare public school kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed instruction in reading, writing, and math, once the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close reading is becoming part of the expected skill set of 5-year-olds, and the pressure has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, where children are being asked to master reading by the end of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s essential for every kindergarten child to feel welcomed and included, to be part of the class. Instead, we’re separating the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling kids who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ instead of helping them become competent and feel successful and part of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The record concludes with a sequence of recommendations—from the actual professionals in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of modern early childhood requirements and mandates. Another urges the use of true assessment, primarily based on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses baby poverty, our countrywide stain:

Work at all degrees of society to reduce, and eventually stop toddler poverty.  To do this, we have to first renowned that a slender focal point on enhancing colleges will no longer clear up the complicated troubles related with toddler poverty.

Breaking the silence was never so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in good trouble.

DEFENDING THE EARLY YEARS RELEASES ITS LATEST REPORT: “TEACHERS SPEAK OUT: HOW SCHOOL REFORMS ARE FAILING LOW-INCOME YOUNG CHILDREN”

1/9/2017

Defending the Early Years is proud to announce the release of its newest report, “Teachers Speak Out: How School Reforms Are Failing Low-Income Young Children.”  

In the wake of federal and state education mandates, this report documents interviews with early childhood teachers across the country about how school reforms negatively affect low-income young children.
 
Authored by Diane E. Levin, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Wheelock College, and Judith L. Van Hoorn, Professor Emerita, University of the Pacific and published by Defending the Early Years, the report finds that the mandates disregard teachers’ knowledge of child development, culturally appropriate practice, and how to meet the diverse educational needs of poor children.
 
Find the full 16-page report here.

Find the two-page summary report here.

Find the press release here.

NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION MOUNTING A CAMPAIGN TO DEFEAT BETSY DEVOS AS SECRETARY OF EDUCATION

1/6/2017

Senate hearings on the affirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education start on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave worries about Mrs. DeVos.  See “ A Sobering Look at What Betsy DeVos Did to Education in Michigan – and What She Might Do as Secretary of Education ” from The Answer Sheet in The Washington Post and “Betsy DeVos and God’s Plan for Schools” in the Dec. 13, 2016 New York Times.

Network for Public Education is mounting a marketing campaign and encouraging educators and different worried residents to contact their Senator.  Find a pattern letter and the addresses of all Senators at  https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook& amp;. Or write your own letter, in your own words.

Another alternative is to name 202-225-3121 and be related with any congressional member, each Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who solutions that you are adverse to Mrs. DeVos’ affirmation as Secretary of Education.  They will ask for your title and zip code and tally your name as a “yay” or “nay.” 

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