Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth Through Age 8, Fourth Edition (Fully Revised and Updated)
eBook - ePub

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth Through Age 8, Fourth Edition (Fully Revised and Updated)

Susan Friedman, Brian L Wright, Marie L. Masterson, Susan Friedman, Brian L Wright, Marie L. Masterson

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eBook - ePub

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth Through Age 8, Fourth Edition (Fully Revised and Updated)

Susan Friedman, Brian L Wright, Marie L. Masterson, Susan Friedman, Brian L Wright, Marie L. Masterson

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Clear, Relevant, Evidence-Based Guidance to Support Early Childhood Educators

Spring 2022 Academic's Choice Awards Smart Book Winner. Developmentally appropriate practice is the foundation on which quality early learning is built. The fourth edition of this classic, influential text addresses developmentally appropriate practice within the context of the ever-changing and evolving world of early childhood education. With a strong focus on equity and teaching and supporting all children, it underscores the importance of social, cultural, and historical contexts of development.

Research Based

Based on what the research says about child development, how children learn, and effective practices—as well as what professional experience tells the field about intentional teaching—this book provides a thorough discussion of the core considerations, principles, and guidelines that inform educators' decision making. You'll find extensive examples of effective approaches for teaching children across the early childhood spectrum as well as specific examples for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and children in the primary grades.

Even More Resources for Early Childhood Professionals

This edition provides a comprehensive approach to implementing practices that ensure all young children have access to high-quality early learning. New resources in the book and online support higher education faculty, K–3 leaders, and early childhood educators in extending their own and others' knowledge and application of developmentally appropriate practice.

For higher education faculty:

• Suggested activities, assignments, and reflections that correspond to specific content in the book, key areas of practice in NAEYC's position statement on developmentally appropriate practice, and the professional standards and competencies

• A test bank to create quick quizzes

For K–3 leaders:

• Considerations for incorporating developmentally appropriate practice into K–3 schools and programs, including those that provide pre-K, to foster children's joyful learning and maximize learning opportunities for all children

For early childhood educators:

• Tips and resources for engaging with content in the book, extending learning with additional resources, and collaborating with others in the early childhood learning community

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Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Context

Diving into the DAP Position Statement: Divisible by Three
As represented in the figure, the framework for developmentally appropriate practice is structured around three key areas: three core considerations, nine principles of child development and learning, and six guidelines for practice.
The principles serve as the evidence base for the guidelines for practice, and both are situated within three core considerations for educators’ decision making—commonality, individuality, and context. The chapters in Part 1 focus on the outer two circles of the figure, which include an examination of the core considerations (Chapter 1) and the principles of child development and learning (Chapter 2). These are then explained within a broader understanding of context (Chapter 3).
Throughout the five chapters in Part 1, the concepts of intentional teaching, joyful learning, play, and content knowledge come to life through examples and discussions that highlight how educators consider the research base as well as their own contexts along with those of the children. Readers are walked through a deeper exploration and understanding of context and what it means for educators to consider context in their teaching. The theoretical and practical information in these chapters offers educators both insights into the importance of understanding and analyzing the research base and an examination of the practical considerations for teachers in a wide range of settings. It is critical for teachers to understand the research base as well as what context means to be able to apply the key concepts within the framework of developmentally appropriate practice as they plan responsive, joyful, and engaging learning experiences for each child they teach. Think of developmentally appropriate practice like a kaleidoscope. As you focus on one part of the framework—playful learning, curriculum planning, or selection of teaching strategies, for example—it reflects and converges with the other parts, and so they must be considered together to see the whole picture that’s formed.
“Intentional Teaching: Complex Decision Making and the Core Considerations” discusses the many choices teachers make throughout the day and over time, balancing what they know about child development and learning with information about the individual children they teach and consideration of the specific contexts.
“The Principles in Practice: Understanding Child Development and Learning in Context” examines each of the nine principles of child development and learning, highlighting an overview of relevant research and offering classroom examples that demonstrate and discuss each principle.
“Context Matters: Reframing Teaching in Early Childhood Education” explores what context means and why an understanding of context is so important to supporting each child’s development and learning. A short appendix discusses two theoretical tools for better understanding child development and context.
“Teaching Content in Early Childhood Education” is an exploration of why what educators teach is important and why teacher knowledge of literacy, math, science, and social studies is so crucial. The chapter emphasizes a connected approach to teaching that engages multiple domains of development: physical, social, emotional, linguistic, and cognitive.
“The Power of Playful Learning in the Early Childhood Setting” presents the research base on play and describes why play is such a powerful learning tool. The chapter explains various kinds of play and includes many examples of how educators support play in different ways for different purposes. It also demonstrates the importance of the teacher’s role when there is a learning goal and of understanding when to step back to allow for child decision making in play.


Intentional Teaching

Complex Decision Making and the Core Considerations
Sue Bredekamp and Barbara Willer
Learning Goals
  1. Identify the three core considerations educators use to make intentional teaching decisions.
  2. Recognize ways educators balance multiple observations of children, their knowledge of child development and learning, and the core considerations as they make decisions.
  3. Describe ways in which the context of the teacher is significant and, if familiar with the 2009 position statement on developmentally appropriate practice, identify how the core considerations have changed in the 2020 position statement on developmentally appropriate practice to include the context of the educator, program, and educational system.
  4. Analyze how one’s own cultural background and experiences, including implicit biases, influence one’s thinking and behavior.
  5. Identify ways in which educators’ decision making can promote equity among young children.
Thought Questions
  1. When you hear the words developmentally appropriate practice, what do you think? What would you expect to see in developmentally appropriate classrooms serving various age groups (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and primary grade children)?
  2. Think of different children you have interacted with previously, whether as an educator, as a volunteer, or in your family. What similarities did the children share, and how were they different? How are their experiences alike or different from your experiences as a child or parent? How have you adapted your interactions with different children?
  3. Think about the social, cultural, and linguistic contexts in which you grew up. Consider how your background and experiences may have enabled or created barriers to your success in school. How have those contexts influenced your beliefs about teaching and learning or childrearing practices?
For many decades, early childhood education professionals have used the phrase developmentally appropriate practice, or DAP, to refer to high-quality teaching and learning experiences for children from birth through age 8. Such teaching practices are designed to support each and every child’s optimal learning and development, contributing to children’s success in school and life.
Throughout its history, NAEYC has advocated for high-quality, developmentally appropriate early learning programs for young children. Over time, the understanding and definitions of what constitutes such a program have evolved as new knowledge is gained. NAEYC’s 2020 position statement on developmentally appropriate practice makes the association’s long-standing embrace of play and active learning more explicit than ever: a developmentally appropriate program uses a “strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning” (NAEYC 2020a, 5). These words—joyful and engaged—evoke a classroom rich with play; children’s laughter; meaningful conversation; exciting and new things to explore, learn about, and achieve; positive relationships among children and educators that honor each child’s developing self-identity; and educators listening to and learning with and from each child and family, as illustrated in the following example.
1.1 Self-Identity: The Power of a Name
Today is special in Ae-Cha’s preschool classroom because her mother brings in Ae-Cha’s favorite Korean snack. As her mother shares the snack, she explains that Ae-Cha’s name means “loving daughter” and why her family chose that name. Chin-Hae, another child in the class, quickly joins the conversation and says that his name in Korean means “truth.” Rosa proudly announces that she was named after Rosa Parks, the heroic civil rights activist, and Ben says that he was named after his grandfather. This discussion leads to a lot of questions about why and how families choose babies’ names and their meanings. Initially, the teachers thought that families sharing their favorite snacks would lead to discussions about differences and similarities in families’ favorite foods, but they are struck by the intense interest the children have in the many reasons why families choose children’s names. They discuss how they might adapt their planned lessons and decide that the children’s interest in names would make it a good topic of study. The teachers think this topic will be an opportunity to address their initial goals of building positive self-identity, appreciation for diversity, and children’s vocabulary while also reflecting children’s authentic interests.
As you consider this example, think about how the teachers could extend the children’s learning and work more with their families to ensure joyful, engaged learning. For example, the teachers could ask all the families to contribute stories about their children’s names. Books about names could be added to the library area and read to children individually and in large or small groups. Or children could use name tags for themselves and their dolls and stuffed animals. There are endless ways the teachers could build on this high-interest topic that cut across content areas.

Enlarging the Frame: Understanding Developmentally Appropriate Practice

So, what does it take to ensure joyful, engaged learning for each and every child? This is the question the 2020 position statement on developmentally appropriate practice answers by addressing related questions: What really is developmentally appropriate practice? Why is it important? How are such practices actually implemented on a daily basis? How do educators adapt learning experiences to respond to children’s interests while still making sure they address key learning goals? To these fundamental questions, we now add the following: Given increased recognition of current inequities and considering deeper knowledge and multiple diverse perspectives, what must be done to ensure that every child has equitable opportunities to learn and thrive? How do educators ensure that they understand how their own contexts, as well as those of the individual children and families they serve, impact their decision making?
In the past, some people looked at NAEYC’s position statement on developmentally appropriate practice as a recipe. The assumption was that there was just one right way to teach all young children. This was a gross oversimplification and serious error. The 2020 position statement, therefore, rejects the notion of one “best practice” because what is considered “appropriate”—whether the content of the curriculum, teaching strategies, or assessments—is always culturally influenced. The most impactful change in the 2020 position statement is its emphasis on how social, cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts influence everything in the lives of children, families, educators, and programs—and how educators’ understanding of these influences affect teaching decisions.
Each revision of the position statement on developmentally appropriate practice has benefitted from seeking out and working to find common ground across diverse perspectives in defining quality. Too often, complex issues in education—and in the wider world—continue to be avoided by seeing them as either/or choices. By contrast, resolving the tensions and complexities inherent in educational decisions requires enlarging the frame through which educators gather information. And it requires moving from either/or thinking to both/and thinking.
Being intentional in decision making requires that educators consider multiple diverse sources of information. But how is this accomplished in real life? Consider how an educator’s perspective is similar to a camera, a tool that many teachers use every day. A camera lens can narrow to focus on one individual or be widened as far as a panorama. The picture looks quite different if we focus on one child as an individual as opposed to widening the lens to include the whole group or the child’s family and community contexts. A video provides even more information about ongoing relationships and activities. Do you see any of the following?
  • Deep engagement
  • Joyful discovery
  • Friendship
  • Play and playful learning
  • Celebration of both differences and similarities represented in the group
  • The excitement of acquiring a new skill or finding the solution to a difficult or interesting problem
NAEYC’s 2020 position statement on developmentally appropriate practice goes beyond focusing on the contexts of children and families by calling on educators to also recognize how their own cultural context and experiences influence their practice. Teaching requires critical self-awareness and reflection—that is, redirecting the lens to include frequently taking selfies as well.
Picture a wall of framed family photos. What do you see and feel when looking at each child’s formal school picture? Now examine the photos of the whole family during joyous events like a wedding or a reunion. Enlarging the frame brings not only pleasure but also greater insight into the child’s cultural context.
Enlarging the frame is a valuable strategy to address seeming contradictions that plague people’s understanding of developmentally appropriate practice. Some of these are justified criticisms. Some are well-intentioned misunderstandings, while others are misrepresentations. For example, regardless of the subject area, heated debates continue about whether children benefit more from either direct instruction or child-guided activities. In reality, each approach works best for different kinds of learning, and elements of both can be combined effectively. In studying s...

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