A coalition of national leaders in the field of early childhood education are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of recent federal education policy reforms on early childhood education and care around the country, say Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Diane E. Levin and Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, for the Washington Post. The coalition, called Defending the Early Years, believes that children develop best — socially, emotionally and cognitively — when they have educational experiences that promote creativity, thinking and problem solving skills, and engage in meaningful activities geared to their developmental levels and needs. The educational leaders met recently to discuss growing concerns that federal Race to the Top policy mandates on early childhood education are undermining education practice that research tells us is in the best interest of young children’s optimal development and learning. Their concerns fell into three major categories…

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