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As a preschool owner/educator, I remember so vividly the day I decided to leave an incredible 13-year career as a public school teacher in one of Ohio’s wealthiest school districts to own and run my own preschool. This was not an easy decision, because I love teaching; leaving the classroom was one of the hardest professional decisions I have ever made. However, the standards and standardized testing that were dictating our curriculum practices were in complete conflict with my beliefs. Fortunately, I had options and decided to stay in education by moving to younger ages, which at the time, seemed exempt from the overt pressure of standardized testing. I envisioned a facility that embraced play as the primary learning philosophy – one that valued child interests and focus groups, one that integrated multicultural facets. I could not be more pleased with my decision to walk away from an amazing retirement, decent salary, and summers off with my own children to offer my ideals to other young learners. Little did I realize that the same nightmares that plagued me previously would continue to haunt me at my preschool. Although research on play and cognitive development provide a lot of support for the play-based curriculum for our young children, the recent state and national emphasis on proficiency test performance has reinforced the concept of minimal play time, even in the primary setting. Many preschools and elementary schools have reduced or even eliminated play from their schedules. Play, even the small segments, are being replaced with academic readiness practices, particularly literacy and reading to match the content of standardized testing。


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