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WENDY LOCKER: NOTHING ABSTRACT ABOUT THE LESSONS OF PLAY

6/10/2017

Read Wendy Locker’s insightful article, as published 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) not only left us puzzled but raised several important questions.

Should a learn about that discovered a 2½-month acquire in tutorial capabilities when taught in preschool impact early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for educational educating to make such minimal positive aspects in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have lost out due to the fact of the center of attention on tutorial skills?  Studies of Head Start applications that taught educational capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s located that positive factors made in tutorial overall performance over teens in extra play-based Head Start packages had been usually long gone via 2nd grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as cited in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do no longer begin formal analyzing preparation till age seven, indicates that beginning formal instructing of analyzing in the past has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood programs are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having played in a preschool is not enough, as all play is not the same.  When a infant dabbles from one pastime to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the equal recreation day-after-day, this is now not fantastic play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a infant does emerge as greater utterly engaged in an recreation that develops over time and is significant play, teachers have a integral position in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further.  The trainer additionally makes choices about how to combine extra formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, through assisting a infant dictate memories 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 classification meeting.  With block building, the trainer and infant would possibly talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.

This variety of intentional teacher-facilitated mastering thru play contributes to the many foundational abilities youngsters need for later college success, along with self-regulation, social skills, creativity, authentic 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 abilities are an awful lot greater vital for how teens will sense about and operate later in college than the 2½ months acquire they would possibly gain from the early talent training obtained in preschool, as stated 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 lookup on the advantages of pleasant play in preschool applications so regularly ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that academic skills are so important to emphasize in preschool rather than a focus on the development of the “whole child” and foundational skills that prepare children for school success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and learning so often treated 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 comprehensive toolkit will answer questions about charter schools and school privatization.

HIGH SCHOOL SHOULD BE MORE LIKE PRESCHOOL

4/8/2017

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Secondary schooling is now borrowing thoughts 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 procedure of creating Kindergarten Readiness Assessments (KRA), a device to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten. While KRAs have a number of advantages for educating and learning, the outcomes 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 used to be 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 declaration 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 was once unable to reply fundamental questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is in opposition to public schooling and, instead, desires to privatize public education.  DeVos has a tested records of assisting efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we assist the equal chance of each and every younger baby for an magnificent education.  We are particularly worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote commonplace preschool public education. 
 
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website 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 war 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 outcomes of our latest election attest, women’s ascent to energy 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 earlier than the hearing, as opponents of DeVos signed petitions, known as their senators, and advised individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit agency primarily based in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The record highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the influence of college reforms on low-income children.  Authors Diane E. Levin and Judith L. Van Hoorn culled their information 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 mounted in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of teenagers beneath six years historical lived in  low-income families near or below the poverty line in 2014. The level rises to nearly 70 percent for Black and Native-American children and 64 percent for Hispanic youngsters.  In a recent survey conducted by the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers across the United States listed family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems as the top barriers to student success.

Yet the mandates of the Common Core are exacerbating the problem.  As Levin and Van Hoorn point out in the report’s introduction, “recent reforms…have been developed and implemented by people with good intentions but often little formal knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the knowledge now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the educating and evaluation of slender tutorial abilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are compelled to do the “least harm,” alternatively than the “most good.”

In an trade 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 record numbers.  Respect for the profession and morale are at an all-time low, as teachers have picked up the slack for a society that starves its schools and communities, and blames them for all its ills.  But out of this malaise, a new activism has emerged, with great energy dedicated to defeating her.

Early childhood teachers—with some wonderful exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a personnel 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 grasp shared by way of many, and internalized by way of these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based applications are drastically much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are residing in poverty, and bothered by means of the poisonous stress frequent amongst their students. The most recent practitioners are concerned about placing their careers at risk.  Few have been inclined to go on the document with their critique.

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​As I read through the report, I kept underlining the quotes from the teachers, as if to amplify them, to lift them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s robust evidence base, but they’re undermined by a lack of agency and autonomy:

The have faith in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone.  So are the play and studying facilities in my classroom.  Everything is supposed to be structured for a precise lesson and rigidly timed to in shape into a specific, tight, preapproved schedule.

The poor affect of reforms on children’s improvement and studying can’t be overstated. Practice has come to be greater rote, and standardized, with much less time for deep relationships—among children, and between them and caring adults.  We’re stealing the coronary heart of notable early education, as the person strengths, interests, and wishes of youth get lost:

With this excessive emphasis on what’s referred to as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s lots tougher for my teenagers to grow to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to examine to self-regulate by way of selecting their very own activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or taking part in creatively.  They have to take a seat longer, however their interest spans are shorter.

The authors convey us into the school rooms studied via Daphna Bassok, Scott Lathem, and Anna Rorem, of the University of Virginia, who used two large, nationally consultant facts units to examine public school  kindergarten classrooms between 1998 and 2010. More formal, directed practise in reading, writing, and math, as soon as the province of first grade, has trickled down into kindergarten.  Close analyzing is turning into section of the predicted talent set of 5-year-olds, and the strain has extended, in some cases, to prekindergarten, the place teenagers are being requested to grasp analyzing by using the quit of the year. The repercussions are severe:

It’s crucial for each kindergarten toddler to experience welcomed and included, to be phase of the class. Instead, we’re setting apart the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as a substitute of assisting them end up in a position and sense profitable and section of their class.  Then it’s ‘remedial this, remedial that.’  It’s discrimination.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations—from the real experts in the room.  The first calls for the withdrawal of current early childhood standards and mandates. Another urges the use of authentic assessment, based on observations of children, their development, and learning.  Number ten addresses child poverty, our national stain:

Work at all tiers of society to reduce, and finally cease toddler poverty.  To do this, we ought to first renowned that a slim focal point on enhancing faculties will no longer resolve the complicated troubles related with infant 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 commence 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 involved 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 option is to call 202-225-3121 and be connected with any congressional member, both Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Tell the staffer who answers that you are opposed to Mrs. DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education.  They will ask for your name and zip code and tally your call as a “yay” or “nay.” 

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