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Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Developmentally Appropriate Practice


As the authors of our text note:
Since its founding in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has
been an influence on early education in the United States, but never so strongly as it has been since it
began writing position statements in the 1980s. (Estes & Krogh, 2012, p. 98)
One of the position statements that NAEYC created focuses on developmentally appropriate practice
(DAP). Understanding what DAP is and how it will influence your work with children is critical to being a
quality early childhood educator.
To deepen your understanding of developmentally appropriate practice, spend some time exploring
NAEYC�s website. Pay particular attention to the section of the website dedicated to DAP. While
exploring the site, you can learn more about what DAP is, read NAEYC�s position statement on DAP,
and learn how DAP can be implemented with different ages of children. When you are finished exploring
the site, complete the following:
In your own words, explain what the term developmentally appropriate practice means to you.
Describe at least two personal connections you made with the DAP information you discovered on the
NAEYC site.
Summarize three main things you learned from exploring the site. How will they impact your career in
early childhood education?

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

The term developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) involves the teaching of children
in line with factors that directly and indirectly affect their development and learning. The aim of
DAP is to ensure that children achieve optimal development and learning. DAP is guided by
three major principles (NAEYC website). The first principle is with regards to understanding the
aspects of a child’s early learning and development at every stage and age. This knowledge plays
a vital role in making decisions on the experiences that are more suitable for the learning and
development of the child. The second principle involves the knowledge of the appropriateness of
the learning approaches applied to every child. The third principle is the understanding of the
cultural appropriateness of the learning and developmental practices applied on every child.
These principles ensure that the curriculum and teaching practices encourage individual learning

and development and group work. The teachers are able to appreciate every individual child’s
strengths and weaknesses in order to get the best out of all the children.

There are two personal connections that I can relate with in the DAP information. The
first connection is with regards to the child’s development and learning at an individual level. At
the individual level, I remember how my teacher specialized on my drawing skills and helped me
come out as the best artist in my class. At the group level, working in a group helped me learn
new aspects from other members of the group as I shared what I thought they lacked.

Accordingly, three main things that I have learned from the NAEYC site in line with
DAP include: the creation of a caring environment for learners, the development of a suitable
curriculum for the learners, and the evaluation of the learning and development of the children.
These three things will impact my career in early childhood education on the ground that I need
to appreciate every child’s capacity at an individual level and at a group level.



NAEYC website.

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