Congressional Briefing

Rethinking Pre-K and Kindergarten Education

May 28, 2009, Capitol Visitors’ Center, HVC-215, 2pm - 4pm


An intensive focus on academic instruction has transformed kindergarten in the past decade but has not produced a generation of successful and healthy children. On the contrary, mounting evidence suggests that it has backfired, contributing to increased behavioral and learning problems, retention, and expulsion. Developmentally appropriate and proven play-based practices that build a strong foundation for lifelong literacy, numeracy, initiative, and creativity are being abandoned because of policies favoring didactic and narrowly test-driven programs. It is time to rethink and redirect the current approaches.  


This briefing brings together a panel with decades of experience in creating effective, developmentally appropriate practices for pre-K and Kindergarten children from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, including:


Joan Almon, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Alliance for Childhood, co-author of Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School


Deborah Meier, Forum for Education & Democracy Convener, principal emeritus of Mission Hill School in Boston, and senior scholar at NYU's Steinhart School of Education


Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education at the University of Delaware, co-author, A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool


Yvonne Smith, PreK/Kindergarten teacher at New York’s Central Park East School


To reserve a seat, please email with “RSVP” in the subject line. Seating is limited, so if you cannot participate after sending an RSVP message, please send another with “cancellation” in the subject line so we may provide a seat for someone else.