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Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)
The National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines it as, “developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a framework of principles and guidelines for best practice in the care and education of young children, birth through age 8... The principles and guidelines outline practice that promotes young children's optimal learning and development.”

Developmentally appropriate curriculum should be appropriate according to the age level of children as well as the pace of development of individual children in a class. As educators and parents of young children, it is important for us to understand DAP and help children to grow in an informed manner.

The following content excerpted from NAEYC’s website ( gives an idea of Developmentally Appropriate Practice-
The Core of DAP
Every day, policy makers, administrators, and teachers/caregivers make a great many decisions, at all levels, both long-term and short-term, that affect young children. It is those many decisions that determine whether what actually happens in a classroom or family childcare home is or is not developmentally appropriate.

In their decision-making, effective early childhood educators keep in mind the desired outcomes for children's learning and development, and they understand that:
Knowledge Must Inform Decision Making
To make decisions that ensure their practice is developmentally appropriate, effective early childhood educators take into consideration knowledge in three areas:
What is known about child development and learning
What is known about each child as an individual
What is known about the social and cultural contexts in which children live
Goals Must Be Challenging and Achievable
Meeting children where they are is essential, but no good teacher simply leaves them there. Keeping in mind desired outcomes and what is known about those children as a group and individually, the teacher plans experiences to promote the children's learning and development. Learning and development are most likely to occur when new experiences build on what a child already knows and is able to do and when those experiences also entail the child stretching a reasonable amount in acquiring new skills, abilities, or knowledge. After the child reaches that new level of mastery in skill or understanding, the effective teacher reflects on what goals should come next; and the cycle continues, advancing the child's learning in a developmentally appropriate way.
Teaching Must Be Intentional to Be Effective
A hallmark of developmentally appropriate teaching is intentionality. Good teachers are intentional in everything they do—setting up the classroom, planning curriculum, making use of various teaching strategies, assessing children, interacting with them, and working with their families.

Intentional teachers are purposeful and thoughtful about the actions they take, and they direct their teaching toward the goals the program is trying to help children reach. Excellent teachers translate the developmentally appropriate practice framework into high-quality experiences for children through the decisions they make.
Twelve Principles of DAP
NAEYC has outlined twelve principles of child development and learning that should inform developmentally appropriate practice. At Redbricks Junior, we consider these as our guiding principles while designing and delivering the curriculum-
All the domains of development and learning—physical, social and emotional, and cognitive—are important, and they are closely interrelated. Children’s development and learning in one domain influence and are influenced by what takes place in other domains.
Many aspects of children’s learning and development follow well-documented sequences, with later abilities, skills, and knowledge building on those already acquired.
Development and learning proceed at varying rates from child to child, as well as at uneven rates across different areas of a child’s individual functioning.
Development and learning result from a dynamic and continuous interaction of biological maturation and experience.
Early experiences have profound effects, both cumulative and delayed, on a child’s development and learning; and optimal periods exist for certain types of development and learning to occur.
Development proceeds toward greater complexity, self-regulation, and symbolic or representational capacities.
Children develop best when they have secure, consistent relationships with responsive adults and opportunities for positive relationships with peers.
Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts. Understanding children’s development requires viewing each child within the socio-cultural context of that child’s family, educational setting, and community, as well as within the broader society.
Always mentally active in seeking to understand the world around them, children learn in a variety of ways; a wide range of teaching strategies and interactions are effective in supporting all these kinds of learning.
Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation as well as for promoting language, cognition, and social competence.
Development and learning advance when children are challenged to achieve at a level just beyond their current mastery, and also when they have many opportunities to practice newly acquired skills.
Children’s experiences shape their motivation and approaches to learning, such as persistence, initiative, and flexibility; in turn, these dispositions and behaviors affect their learning and development.
More details on these principles can be obtained from the below document- Please Click here...
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