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ONE OF the saddest trends I've seen in some kindergartens is to remove former play areas in favor of desks facing forward. Early childhood teachers feel enormous pressure to get their students reading before first grade. The foundation of college and career readiness is laid in early childhood through play, not test prep.

It doesn't matter if a child passes a standardized test if he can't learn to get along with others, solve problems with friends, or communicate appropriately. These oft-called "soft skills" are the hard skills that kindergarten teachers know matter most. Let's not kid ourselves regarding the Common Core. A backer of the core claims in the Globe's June 14 Ideas piece "The end of kindergarten," that tests are meant for children to "demonstrate increasing awareness and competence." Such awareness is better accomplished through making art, engaging in dramatic play, creating stories, or building with Legos.

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Kathleen Molloy Nollet