Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Introduction
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3 Core Considerations of DAP
- Knowing about child development and learning. Understanding what typical development and learning at different ages is a crucial starting point. This knowledge, based on research, helps us predict which experiences will support children’s learning and development. (See “12 Principles of Child Development and Learning” from Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.)
- Knowing what is individually appropriate. What we learn about specific children helps us refine decisions about how to teach and care for each child as an individual. By continually observing children’s play and interaction with the physical environment and others, we learn about each child’s interests, abilities, and developmental progress.
- Knowing what is culturally important. We must make an effort to get to know the children’s families and learn about the values, expectations, and factors that shape their lives at home and in their communities. This background information helps us provide meaningful, relevant, and respectful learning experiences for each child and family.
Taken together, all three considerations result in developmentally appropriate practice.
- DAP Overview
- DAP Position Statement
- DAP Books and Resources
- DAP Online Modules
- DAP with Infants and Toddlers
- DAP with Preschoolers
- DAP with Kindergartners
- DAP in the Early Primary Grades
What is DAP?
- 3 Core Considerations
- 12 Principles of Child Development
- 5 Guidelines for Effective Teaching
- 10 Suggested Teaching Strategies
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8 (3rd ed.) is an essential resource for the early child care field. Chapters describe children from birth through age 8 in detail, with extensive examples of appropriate practice.