Developmentally Appropriate Practice

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The DAP framework is grounded both in the research on child development and learning and in knowledge about educational effectiveness and promotes young children’s optimal learning and development. 

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DAP: Recommendations for Research

Much remains to be learned about how to maximize each child’s development and learning. Important areas for further research include the following topics.
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DAP: Recommendations for Policymakers

Policymakers must ensure that those working directly with children in early childhood settings have equitable, affordable access to high-quality professional preparation required to meet DAP standards.
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DAP: Defining Developmentally Appropriate Practice

NAEYC defines “developmentally appropriate practice” as methods that promote each child’s optimal development and learning through a strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning.
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Young children sitting next to a bookshelf.

DAP: Statement of the Position

Each and every child, birth through age 8, has the right to equitable learning opportunities—in centers, family child care homes, or schools—that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas.
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DAP: Purpose

This position statement, one of five foundational documents developed by NAEYC in collaboration with the early childhood profession to advance high-quality early learning for all young children, defines DAP.
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Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

Educators who engage in developmentally appropriate practice foster young children’s joyful learning and maximize the opportunities for each and every child to achieve their full potential.
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DAP: Conclusion

While many of the recommendations have changed considerably over the years, the primary focus of DAP remains the same: NAEYC emphasizes the importance of the relationships between children and well-prepared early childhood educators.
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Teaching Young Children
September 16, 2020

Message in a Backpack™ Helping Your Child through Change

We gathered insights from individuals with various perspectives and roles in early childhood. Here, you will read excerpts of what some of them would share with families about supporting children during this period of rapid change.
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