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DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE. The following lecture notes comprise of chapters 1,2,& 4 of the DAP. The noted information represent fundamental principles which begin to define teacher and organizational commitments to children and children’s commitment to self development.

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  1. DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE • The following lecture notes comprise of chapters 1,2,& 4 of the DAP. The noted information represent fundamental principles which begin to define teacher and organizational commitments to children and children’s commitment to self development.

  2. DAP in Early Childhood Programs Serving from Birth through Age 8 Identify principles of DAP for professionals who make decision about the care and education of young children. ECE professionals are responsible for establishing: Standards of high-quality Professional practice in early programs Early Childhood Programs Child care centers Family child care homes Private and Public Preschools Kindergartens Primary-grade schools NAEYC POSITION ON DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE PRACTICE (DAP)

  3. The current context of early childhood programs • ECE Programs continue to increase due in part to the growing demand for out-of-home child care but also in recognition of the critical importance of educational experiences during early years. • Welfare reforms also reflect a significant increased demand for child care services for even the youngest children from very low-income families. • There is an increased movement toward multiculturalism and diversity. • The American with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that all ECE programs make reasonable accommodations to provide access for children with disabilities or developmental delays. • Increase in enrollment with children at younger ages • Length of the program day for all ages of children has been extended in response to the need for extended hours of care for employed families. • Corporate America has become a more visible sponsor of child care programs.

  4. Key Points for Consideration • The increased demand for early childhood education services is due in part • To increased recognition of the crucial importance of experiences during the earliest years of life. • Research clearly demonstrate that early and/or high-quality programs produce short- and long-term positive effects on children’s cognitive and social development. • Children who experience high-quality, stable child care engage in • More complex play • Demonstrate more secure attachment to adults and other children • Score higher on measure of thinking ability and language development • High-quality child care programs have been found to predict • Future academic success • Adjustment to school • Reduced behavioral problems for children in first grades. • High quality child care facilities are not the norm in our society. • This is due to the need for uniform standards of high quality.

  5. Pro-social & Developmental Outcome Goals • Goals for children toward the development of pro-social outcomes: • Communicate well • Respect others • Engage with them to work through the differences of opinions • Function well as members of a team • Analyze situation • Make reasoned judgments • Solve new problems as they emerge. • Access information through various modes, including spoken and written language • Intelligently employ complex tools and technologies as they are developed. • Continue to learn new approaches, skills, and knowledge as conditions and needs change.

  6. Empirical principles of child development that guide developmentally appropriate practice • Development in one domain influences and is influenced by development in other domains. • Development occurs in a relatively orderly sequence, with later abilities, skills, and knowledge building on those already acquired. • Development proceeds at varying rated from child to child as well as unevenly within different areas of each child’s functioning. • Early experiences have both cumulative and delayed effect on individual children’s development. Optimal periods exist for certain types of development and learning. • Development and learning are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts. Children are actively constructing their knowledge and understanding of the world around them

  7. Empirical principles of child development that guide developmentally appropriate practice 6. Development and learning result from interaction of biological maturation and the environment, which includes both the physical and social worlds that children live in. 7. Play is an important vehicle for children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, as well as a reflection of their development. 8. Development advances when children have opportunities to practice newly acquired skills as well as when they experience a challenge just beyond the level of their present mastery. Learning and intelligence is multidimensional. 9. Children develop and learn best in the context of a community where they are safe and valued, their physical needs are met, and they feel psychologically secure

  8. Guidelines for Decision About DAP • Creating a caring community of learners. • Teaching to enhance development and learning. • Constructing appropriate curriculum • Assessing children's learning and development • Establishing reciprocal relationships with families

  9. Policies essential for achieving DAP in early childhood programs • NAEYC recommendations to policymaking groups • A comprehensive professional preparation and development system is in place to ensure that ECE programs are staffed with qualified personnel. • Ensure that funding is provided to ensure adequate staffing of early childhood programs • Ensure fair staff compensation to minimize attrition and promote continuity between adults and children. • Resources and expertise are available to provide safe, stimulating learning environments with a sufficient variety of appropriate materials and equipment. • Adequate systems for regulating and monitoring the quality of early childhood programs are in place • Community resources are available and used to support the comprehensive needs of children and families. • Alternative methods are employed when children do not make expected learning process (i.e., focused time, individualized instruction, tutoring). • Early childhood programs use multiple indicators to chart progress in children's development and learning and regularly report children’s progress to parents.


  11. Assessing Developmentally Appropriate Practice • DAP. The process of professionals making decisions about the well-being and education of children based on at least three important kinds of information or knowledge: • What is known about a child’s development and learning • Age related characteristics • Safe and appropriate resources • Knowledge of appropriate interactions and task competencies • What is known about the strengths, interests, and needs of each child. Otherwise, it is difficult to develop an appropriate curriculum. • Knowledge of the social and cultural contexts in which the children reside. • By accommodating a curriculum in this manner, we ensure relevance an adaptation to their community and family. • Perhaps the greatest challenge of DAP is knowing the characteristics of your audience (cultural practices, developmental stage, significant handicaps or delays).

  12. Challenge to Developing Curriculum Purely on Developmental Norms • While consistent developmental outcomes in children occur within similar time frames, many decisions of developmental competency are based on identified “norm or average.” • These statistical categories often fail to reflect a considerable proportion of children in general settings. • Range tells a better story than central tendency. • Much of our knowledge of developmental norms is based on dominant culture norms • This fails to recognize developmental equivalences across other cultures. • Future models and curriculums must incorporate a greater diversity of cultures.

  13. Why Focus on Culture? • 20% of Head Start’s population come from non-English dominant homes. • 50% of all kindergarten students in Texas are Hispanic.

  14. More on Culture • In the past, we have used culture more as a political tool to divide people—stressing differences and ignoring commonalities. • Discuss studies on culture, intelligence, and socioeconomic status • Culture consists of a set of rules or expectations for the behavior of group members that are passed on from one generation to the next. • Culture is not just rituals and celebrations. • Culture is rules that influence behavior, give meaning to events and experiences in families and communities. • Cultures are not stagnant. Cultures borrow customs and traditions from each other. • The congruence of culture, preschools, and educational settings create an ease for learning for children. The reverse often forces children to decide between their culture and their learning setting. Ex. • Latino father teaches child to respect teacher by looking down when the teacher is talking. The teacher purports that she cannot reach the child because he want even look her in the eyes when she is talking. • Everyone is influenced by culture (even teachers). We must be certain that our own beliefs and values do not hinder our ability to effectively work with children of different values. • What happens when the values and beliefs of teachers significantly contradict the values and beliefs of families in which the children reside?

  15. Key Points of Consideration • Our knowledge of child development and learning allows us to make general predictions about the kinds of activities and experiences that will effectively engage children given their competences. • Understanding child success and competency as both developmental and experiential/interactive. Ex. • (Bike example). Most 6 & 7 yr olds possess the developmental skills to ride a bike, however, the range of learning is 4-21yrs of age. • Given proper exposure to instruction and resources, many children are able to read by age 6 or 7, however, some learn as early as 4 yrs or as late as 9 yrs. (What determines these differences).

  16. Why Such Large Ranges?????? • Developmentally Inappropriate Expectations. Sometimes adults values and beliefs supercede children’s actual competencies and capabilities. • Adult expectations should be realistic • Individual differences among children—greatly acknowledged/widely ignored when developing curriculum

  17. Developing Healthy Sense of Identity • Provide children with experiences that promotes more successes than failures. • Stable interaction and relationships in education/learning based settings are vital. • Based on the Reggio Emilia models, children and teachers progress to different learning settings at the same time (Infant/toddler centers and preschools).

  18. Reggio Emilia • Founded in the 1970’s by Loris Malaguzzi. • Basic Model • Children are viewed as active learners • Integrated Curriculum/Project Work. • Rooms are not divided into learning centers. • Teacher/Child Relationships • Documentation of Student Learning

  19. Key Points & Benefits to Reggio Emilia Approach • Teachers possess a greater knowledge of the children they work with • Able to document more observations and experiences • Stronger bond and greater support between teacher and children • Teachers create an environment that stimulates learning • Teachers focus on children’s development of symbolic language and expression (drawing, sculpture, dramatic play, and writing). • Children’s projects (art, poems, etc.) are displayed on the walls throughout the facility. • There is no hurry to cover a particular lesson. Structure is provided but freedom of expression sets the pace • Plenty of time for spontaneous play with abundant resources • Teachers value the importance of children being confused and working through difficult tasks with limited information

  20. Curriculum Based Programs Which Promote Creativity (Jackman, 2001) • Friedrich Froebel. • Developed the first curriculum based program exclusively for young children. • Froebel identified key objects/resources to promote learning; consequently, these resources continue to be used today (Developed in Germany).

  21. Maria Montessori • The second to develop a curriculum based program exclusively for young children. • Montessori’s ideas initially came from working with impoverished children in Italy. • Key Points to Model: • Children learn best from child-sized environments that are stimulating and inviting. • Children copy their environment rather than construct it. Consequently, by observing and later practicing what they have witnessed, children begin to internalize the properties of their environment.

  22. Head Start • The largest publicly funded educational program for young children • Since 1965, Head Start has provided curriculum/classroom based learning to children in low income families. • Head Start has been effective in providing family center education in an effort to improve upon the lives of young children.

  23. High/Scope • Developed in the 1960s under the leadership of David Weikert. • Key Points: • Children learn best through active experiences with people, materials, events, and ideas. • Autonomy is fostered in children as teachers facilitate a daily “plan-do-review” process.

  24. Bank Street • Founded in 1916 by Lucy S. Mitchell • Key Points: • Focus on holistic approach to developmental-interaction programs (development and learning). • Cognitive growth cannot be separated from the growth of personal and social processes. • Classrooms are arranged into distinct learning centers. Learning is encouraged by bridging play, choice management, taking risks, and accepting help. • The Bank Street approach employs an open education which believes that children are capable of selecting and learning from appropriate activities. The goal is not to teach new concepts but to better employ the skills already obtained.

  25. Continuity of Child Care Relationships are Not Always the Central Goal • Some directors of child care centers promote the moving of children every 6 months. • Premise. Some parents prefer this as a means of limiting attachment of their children to other people. • Criticism. This practice prohibits professionals from appropriately getting to know the child and their families.

  26. Differences Between Families and Teachers on Child Practices • What happens when parents expect teachers to do things that contradict their principles. • Issues of corporal punishment…Scenario…Parents condone/teachers prohibited. • How do teachers respond to children’s play with violent themes (toys or imaginary) • In problem-solving, educators bear the responsibility of being open-minded and objective. Antonia Lopez notes 4 guiding questions: • Are the concepts clear • Can they be restated for better clarity • How are they related to the child’s overall wellbeing • What are the cultural implications (is it a matter of culture, opinion, or information)

  27. Theory & Research behind the Creative Curriculum • Abraham Maslow. There is a hierarchy of needs common to all human beings. Basic needs must be met before children are able to focus on learning. • Physiological Needs. Basic needs such as hunger, thirst, and bodily comfort. For this reason, many early childhood programs provide breakfast, snacks, and lunches. • Safety. When children feel safe they are open to greater exploration and learning. • Belongingness. The sense of being comfortable with and connected to others that results from receiving acceptance, respect, and love. • Esteem. Self-value/respect and respect from others.

  28. Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development • Trust vs. Mistrust (infancy). Children who receive consistent and loving care learn trust. Teachers establish a reliable, safe atmosphere that reinforces the trust children learn at home and helps children who mistrust because of difficult experiences. • Teachers must know and develop a positive relationship with each child • Follow a consistent schedule • Carry through on announced plans and promises • Autonomy vs. Shame/doubt (1-3 yrs). Autonomy is acting willingly and by free choice. Children develop autonomy when adults give them a chance to do things on their own. • Teachers can set up an environment where children can find and return materials on their own • Provide play materials that support and challenge children’s abilities • Help children express their feelings in constructive ways • Provide appropriate real-world responsibilities and jobs • Encourage children to see tasks through to completion

  29. Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Continued • Initiative vs. Guilt. An interest towards making things. Children with initiative are purposeful and and eager to try out new materials and ideas. • Teachers need to provide an environment that promotes experimentation and exploration • Offer children opportunities to make choices • Provide children with opportunities for creative expression • Permit children to get messy during play • Encourage children to work independently • Value children’s ideas • Promote problem-solving and appropriate risk taking

  30. Learning and the Brain • The human brain grows as a result of learning and experience. Learning changes the physical structure of the brain (Increased knowledge yields increased synaptic connections). • Learning needs to be reinforced over and over to maintain synaptic connections. • During the first five years, trillions of synapses are formed in response to learning experiences. • Children’s emotional well-being is important. Stress can destroy brain cells and make learning more difficult. • Brain formation has sensitive periods. During the early years, children are most receptive to learning emotional control, forming attachments to others, and acquiring language and music skills.


  32. Developmentally Appropriate Practice for 3-5 Yrs. • There are increasing numbers of children between 2 and 6 years of age (preschoolers) who are involved in out-of-home programs. • Challenge for working with Preschoolers • 3yr. olds is to maintain constancy in their daily routines. • Develop holistic preschool programs • Developing programs that challenge children and consists of diverse learning environments • Research findings have noted several effective teaching practices that support children’s development (intellectual, social, emotional). • Project work • Play • Small-group learning experiences • Engagement in real-life tasks (cooking, woodworking)

  33. A Sketch of Physical Development (3-5 yrs) • Physical growth is slow and steady during this time period (3 to 5 years) • Growth occurs mostly in trunk and legs • On average, children gain 5 to 6 pounds and 2 to 3 inches per year during the period of 3 to 6 years. • Growth varies between children • Changes in body composition in consort with developing gross motor skills creates an environment of mishaps and accidents.

  34. Maturation • The brain grows from 75% to 90% of its adult size during these years. • Coordination improves due to brain lateralization and myelinization (process of insulating the nervous system with fat) • All 20 baby teeth have erupted by age 3 • Sensation and Perception • Children’s senses are generally developed, however, preschoolers tend to be farsighted and have not yet developed their binocular vision • 2 to 3yr olds demonstrate improved ability to perceive patterns and discriminate various forms. Thus the increasing interest in art, puzzles, constructions, and letter and words

  35. Language and Communication • Children’s vocabulary • Around age 2, about 50 words • Between 3 and 5, children learn about 50 new words per month • The typical vocabulary of a 6 yr old is between 8-14 thousand words • Fragmented statements transform into rolling sentences and complex conversations • Increasing awareness of scripts for communicating (set of actions and language that are conventionally used in a range of situations) • Private speech. The tendency for preschoolers to think out loud or control their own behavior by literally talking to themselves • Young children use it to announce completion of a task • Many children use this as a means of problem-solving and cognitive organization • The early childhood years are optimal for fluency in a second language (before age 12)

  36. Cognition • Among preschoolers, children’s increasing cognitive capacity enables them to engage in more sophisticated learning activities and social relationships • Extended memory is also an important milestone • Piaget’s position is emphasized • Young children are constructing their understanding of the world • Young children are egocentric • Lack conservation reasoning • Children are demonstrating a more rapid growth than once projected by Piaget • According to studies, when young children are given sorting, classifying, and ordering tasks that are simplified and highly relevant to their experience, they perform more successfully than once thought

  37. Symbolic Thought • Increased symbolic thought leads to greater use of language and other mental representations. Consequently, • Preschoolers can think ahead and anticipate consequences to their actions • Preschoolers can make plans • Their activities becomes more purposeful and goal-directed • The use of symbolic thought is indicative of make-believe play which is becoming more elaborate and more cooperative

  38. Egocentrism, Centration, and Concreteness • Preschoolers continue to be influenced by egocentrism and centration • Egocentrism. The tendency to take into account only their own point of view • Centration. The focusing of attention on one element of a situation and ignoring of all others

  39. Information Processing in 3-5 yrs • Compared to primary-school children, preschoolers have difficulty focusing on details and are more distractible, especially when required to listen passively or work on a specific task. • Young children have relatively poor recall of list-like information that is not embedded in meaningful contexts

  40. Socio-emotional Development • Peers become important agents of socialization and provide important learning opportunities • Positive ways of dealing with others • Pro-social behavior • More social play –including Rough-and-tumble play • Psychological trait development (self-concept, self-esteem, initiative, etc.) • Children become inundated with the emotion of fear with the influence of greater cognitive development, life experiences, and fantasy • Educators must help children to appropriately deal with their emotions and cope with fears • Educators must help children learn internal self-regulation • Educators must help children deal with an increasing society of violence, crime, and dangers • Self-regulation, emotional expression, and positive social relationships are all essential skills for later schooling and life and key goals of programs that serve children from 3 through 5.

  41. Additional Sources Integrated in Lecture Notes • Jackman, H. (2001). Early Education Curriculum—A Child’s Connection to the World (2nd ed.). Delmar Thomson Learning: Africa.

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