Defending the Early Years (DEY) seeks to rally educators to take action on policies that affect the education of young children. The principal goals of the project are:
- To mobilize the early childhood community to speak out with well-reasoned arguments against inappropriate standards, assessments, and classroom practices.
- To track the effects of new standards, especially those linked to the Common Core State Standards, on early childhood education policy and practice;
- To promote appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms and support educators in counteracting current reforms which undermine these appropriate practices.
The DEY Project is directed by educator and activist Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, founder of Empowered by Play and founding teacher at the Mission Hill School in Roxbury, MA. The senior advisers of the project are Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita at Lesley University, and Diane Levin, Professor of Early Childhood Education at Wheelock College.