What is Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)?
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A revision of the Developmentally Appropriate Practice position statement is currently underway. Members of the DAP/Diversity and Equity Workgroup and the Early Learning Systems Committee are now seeking comments on the initial draft of a revised DAP 2019 position statement by July 15, 2019. Please review the statement in English or Spanish (coming soon) and submit your feedback through this survey or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A PowerPoint that summarizes the changes is also available.
What is DAP?
Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a framework designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development. To make decisions that reflect best practices, educators take into consideration what they know about
- Child development and learning
- Each child as an individual
- Each child’s social and cultural context
Grounded in both research on how young children develop and learn and knowledge about effective teaching, DAP is at the heart of all of NAEYC’s work and resources. Numerous books, booklets, and brochures about developmentally appropriate practice support educators and families in meeting children where they are and helping them attain challenging, achievable goals.
Takeaways from the resources:
- 3 Core Considerations - Teachers need to keep in mind goals for children's learning and development and be intentional in helping children achieve these goals. The core of developmentally appropriate practice lies in this intentionality. As they make decisions teachers consider these three areas of knowledge.
- 12 Principles of Child Development - Developmentally appropriate practice is informed by what we know from theory and literature about how children develop and learn. In particular, a review of that literature yields a number of well supported generalizations, or principles. Each of the principles rests on a very extensive research base that is only partially referenced in the position statement.
- 5 Guidelines for Effective Teaching (infographic) - Let’s think of these guidelines as five points on a star—a “mariner’s star” to guide our journey to help children learn best. Each point of the star is a vital part of good practice in early care and education. None can be left out or shortchanged without seriously weakening the whole.
- 10 Suggested Teaching Strategies (infographic) - An effective teacher or family child care provider chooses a strategy to fit a particular situation. It’s important to consider what the children already know and can do and the learning goals for the specific situation.
For more information about DAP, the 3 Core Considerations, the 12 Principles of Child Development and Learning, and the 5 Guidelines for Effective Teaching, read the NAEYC position statement, Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (PDF), adopted in 2009.