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.
Higher education practitioners must prepare early childhood educators to understand and implement all components of developmentally appropriate practice and provide equitable learning opportunities for all young children.
Fully achieving DAP guidelines and effectively promoting all young children’s development and learning depends on the establishment of a strong profession with which all early childhood educators, working across all settings, identify.
Developmentally appropriate teaching practices encompass a wide range of skills and strategies that are adapted to the age, development, individual characteristics, and the family and social and cultural contexts of each child served.
Observing, documenting, and assessing each child’s development and learning are essential processes for educators and programs to plan, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of the experiences they provide to children.
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.
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.
The extent to which educators can fully implement developmentally appropriate practice depends, as efforts to advance equity also do, on decisions at many levels, including program administration, professional development, policy, and more.
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.