THEORY – DAP: Developmentally Appropriate Practice


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What is D. A. P ?

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 2.15.28 pm   Developmentally Appropriate Practice is an approach to teaching and learning grounded in research that takes into account how young people develop and learn and what is known about effective early education. from Kostelnik et al, 2013. Diagram from Kostelnik et al, 2013.

What is known about child development:

* children develop holistically – aesthetic, affective, cognitive, language, physical, and social development are interrelated. Although at times it may seem as if one facet of development is more dominant. E.g. playing a game (Kostelnik et al, 2013)

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* it follows an orderly, predictive sequence – e.g. motor skills


* children develop at different rates to one another – e.g. * children learn best when they feel safe and secure – e.g. polar-bears * children are active learners  – e.g. istock_kids_stem * children learn through physical experience, social interaction and reflection  – e.g. IMG_6692 * children are motivated to learn through a continuous process of challenge and mastery  – e.g. soccer * children’s learning profiles vary  – e.g. e7bc05f7c82cf842967bf6ea0ab9f74c * children learn through play  – e.g. Banner_PlayfulLearning

Teaching strategies that are effective to use with DAP:

-> sensory engagement (first hand experiences) -> environmental cues (rather than verbal; e.g. four chairs around a table suggests that only 4 children are able to sit at that table) -> task analysis (identifying the steps of progression; e.g. using scaffolding; chaining and successive approximation;  guided practice and repetition; invitations; behaviour reflections; paraphrase reflections; modelling and demonstrating; effective praise; telling, explaining, informing; do-it signals; challenges; questions).

Phases in the learning cycle:

e.g. Starting with awareness – (Kostelnik et al, 2013)Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 2.54.39 pm Q. How can you relate the phases of the learning cycle to teaching strategies and children’s responses? Don’t forget to think about the child’s zone of proximal development (ZPD, Vygotsky, 1978). Childhood educators also need to know about content and keep the standards in mind!    See: Kostelnik, M.J., Sideman, A.K., & Whiren, A.P. (2013). Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum: Pearson New International Edition: Best Practices in Early Childhood Education. Pearson.


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