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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.deyproject.org) we work to promote terrific instructional practice in early childhood. Dana Goldstein’s May thirtieth 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 located a 2½-month attain in educational competencies when taught in preschool have an impact on early childhood coverage and practice? How can one argue for giving up massive chunks of playtime for tutorial instructing to make such minimal positive factors in educational performance—with little consideration of what different areas may have misplaced out due to the fact of the focal point on educational skills?  Studies of Head Start applications that taught tutorial capabilities to preschoolers in the 1960’s and 1970’s discovered that good points made in educational overall performance over kids in extra play-based Head Start packages had been usually long gone by way of 2d grade (i.e., “fade-out effect,” as noted in the article).  Furthermore, lookup in many European countries, which do now not begin formal analyzing practise till age seven, suggests that beginning formal educating of analyzing until now has little benefit.

Play-based early childhood packages are all-too-often misunderstood.  Just having performed in a preschool is no longer enough, as  all play is not the same.  When a toddler dabbles from one pastime to another, tries out one cloth and then the next, and/or does the identical undertaking day-after-day, this is no longer fantastic play or, necessarily, even play.  And, even when a baby does come to be extra wholly engaged in an exercise that develops over time and is significant play, instructors have a integral function in facilitating the play to assist the infant take it further.  The trainer additionally makes selections about how to combine greater formal early literacy and math capabilities into the play—for instance, by using supporting a infant dictate tales about his portray and pointing out some of the key phrases and letters involved, etc.   The instructor can then assist the infant “read” the story at a classification meeting.  With block building, the instructor and infant may talk about shapes, as she tries to locate the proper structure for her structure.

This kind of intentional teacher-facilitated learning through play contributes to the many foundational skills children need for later school success, including self-regulation, social skills, creativity, original thinking, oral language development, eye-hand coordination, pre-literacy and math skills, and positive attitudes toward problem-solving.  And, in the long run, these foundational skills are much more important for how children will feel about and perform later in school than the 2½ months gain they might obtain from the early skill instruction received in preschool, as reported 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 best play in preschool applications so frequently ignored?
  2. Why is it assumed that tutorial competencies are so vital to emphasize in preschool instead than a center of attention on the improvement of the “whole child” and foundational capabilities that put together kids for college success in the later years?
  3. Why are play and studying so frequently dealt with 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 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 technique 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 means 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 announcement 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 primary questions or tackle controversial issues. But, most importantly, she is towards public training and, instead, desires to privatize public education.  DeVos has a established records of helping efforts that discriminate towards low-income communities and communities of color.  At DEY, we help the equal chance of each and every younger toddler for an incredible education.  We are specifically worried that DeVos will undermine the countrywide and nation efforts to promote common preschool public education. 
 
For more information about advocacy for appropriate public education, visit DEY’s website at www.deyproject.org.

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 instructor carried the torch for democracy at the affirmation listening to for Betsy DeVos, Donal Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.  “The Senate ought to to be a rubber stamp, Patty Murray said.  We owe it t the American human beings to put households and teens first, no longer billionaires.”

Those have been combat 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 effects of our current election attest, women’s ascent to strength 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, referred to as their senators, and urged individuals of the HELP committee to dump her, Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit agency based totally in Boston, released  “Teachers Speak Out.” The document highlights the issues of early childhood instructors about the have an effect on 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 set up in research.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, forty seven percentage of youth beneath six years historical lived in  low-income families near or beneath the poverty line in 2014. The degree rises to almost 70 percentage for Black and Native-American young people and sixty four percentage for Hispanic youngsters.  In a current survey performed via the Council of Chief State School Officers—which helped design  the Common Core standards—teachers throughout the United States listed household stress, poverty, and getting to know and psychological issues as the pinnacle boundaries 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 via humans with desirable intentions however regularly little formal  knowledge of early child development.”   Those with the know-how now face a  “profound moral dilemma.”  As top-down mandates dictate the instructing and evaluation of slim tutorial capabilities at youthful and youthful ages, early childhood educators are pressured to do the “least harm,” as an alternative than the “most good.”

In an alternate 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 brilliant exceptions—have been lacking from the action. The motives are complex.  This is a team of workers that has lengthy been marginalized, their work devalued, and understanding ignored.  “It’s simply babysitting,” New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, stated some years ago, of his state’s prekindergarten program—a grasp shared through many, and internalized via these in the field.  Salaries for educators working in community-based packages are substantially much less than these of their colleagues in the public schools.  Many are dwelling in poverty, and stricken by using 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.

​As I examine via the report, I saved underlining the fees from the teachers, as if to expand them, to carry them off the page.  They’re struggling to honor early childhood’s strong proof base, however they’re undermined by way of a lack of business enterprise and autonomy:

The believe in my information and judgment as a instructor is gone.  So are the play and mastering 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.

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The bad influence of reforms on children’s improvement and mastering can’t be overstated. Practice has come to be extra 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 man or woman strengths, interests, and wants of teenagers get lost:

With this excessive emphasis on what’s known as ‘rigorous academics,’ drills are emphasized.  It’s a lot tougher for my youngsters to turn out to be self-regulated learners.  Children have no time to examine to self-regulate by means of deciding on their very own activities, collaborating in ongoing tasks with their classmates, or enjoying creatively.  They have to sit down longer, however their interest spans are shorter.

The authors deliver 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 statistics units to evaluate 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 necessary for each kindergarten toddler to sense welcomed and included, to be section of the class. Instead, we’re isolating the cream from the milk.  From the beginning, we’re telling children who are poor, ‘You’re deficient,’ as an alternative of supporting them emerge as capable and sense profitable and phase 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 degrees of society to reduce, and subsequently stop toddler poverty.  To do this, we ought to first well known that a slim focal point on enhancing faculties will now not resolve the complicated troubles related with toddler poverty.

Breaking the silence used to be in no way so sweet.  Now it’s time, as John Lewis says, to get in true 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 confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education begin on January 11, 2017. Many educators have grave concerns 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 campaign and encouraging educators and other concerned citizens to contact their Senator.  Find a sample letter and the addresses of all Senators at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-your-senator-to-vote-no-for-betsy-devos?source=facebook&. 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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