Kindergarten teacher: “Why is our youngest student doomed to failure from the start?” — and a road map to address it

Back in 2014, I wrote about a New York school canceling its annual kindergarten end-of-year show because — Are you ready? – Children must continue to work in order to be ready for “college and career.”
If you think this is a single event, guess again. Over the years, preschool and kindergarten education has become increasingly academic, often to the exclusion of structured, play-based learning that experts have long viewed as the best way to teach young children. Things have come to such a point that children who leave kindergarten without learning to read are often regarded as failures.
Kindergarten programs were eliminated so that children could continue their studies and be prepared for college and employment. “Really.
Phyllis Doerr, a veteran kindergarten teacher in Newark, is fed up with the status quo. In it, she writes about why so many children are “destined to fail at birth” and provides a roadmap to correct the problem and make early learning happy again.


By Phyllisdol
I once watched a kindergarten teacher walk past my classroom door, laboriously moving a large wooden toy kitchen toward the exit of our school building in New Jersey.
“What are you doing? I asked my colleague.
“Get this out of my room — we don’t have time to play!”
My heart sank.
For all who love and care about kindergarteners
Dear Parents of young children, kindergarten teachers, elementary school principals, district and state superintendents, professors and administrators of college education programs, and anyone who cares about the education and well-being of our youngest students:
Have you ever watched 5 – or 6-year-olds play? Have you ever seen a little boy holding a doll and pretending to be his father? Or watch a team put together a giant floor puzzle? Or watching two students work together to create a spectacular cityscape with a block that includes a bridge? Or seeing a little girl in a chef’s hat and apron, happily serving pizza to customers?
Kindergarten children should love and be passionate about school. Their first year of formal education should be… Even a magical year. Dorothy Strickland, a professor and researcher at Rutgers University and an expert on early education, said a child’s first learning experience shapes attitudes toward school for years to come. She believes the primary focus of kindergarten should be on executive functions such as problem solving, organization, sequencing, conflict resolution, decision making, and reasoning.