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Develo­pme­ntally Approp­riate Practice - DAP Cheat Sheet by

practice     develo-pme-ntally     approp-riate     dap


Develo­pme­ntally approp­riate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and develo­pment.
For more inform­ation and toolkits visit: http:/­/ww­w.n­aey­c.o­rg/dap/

3 Core Consid­era­tions of DAP

Knowing about child develo­pment and learni­ng.
Knowing what is typical at each age and stage of early develo­pment is crucial. This knowledge, based on research, helps us decide which experi­ences are best for children’s learning and develo­pment. (See “12 Principles of Child Develo­pment and Learning” from NAEYC’s DAP Position Statem­ent.) (note: add link to page below)
Knowing what is indivi­dually approp­ria­te.
What we learn about specific children helps us teach and care for each child as an indivi­dual. By contin­ually observing children’s play and intera­ction with the physical enviro­nment and others, we learn about each child’s interests, abilities, and develo­pmental progress.
Knowing what is culturally import­ant.
We must make an effort to get to know the children’s families and learn about the values, expect­ations, and factors that shape their lives at home and in their commun­ities. This background inform­ation helps us provide meanin­gful, relevant, and respectful learning experi­ences for each child and family.

5 Guidelines for Effective Teaching

Through the decisions they make, excellent teachers translate the DAP framework into high-q­uality experi­ences for children. Such teaching is described in NAEYC’s position statement on Develo­pme­ntally Approp­riate Practice, pages 16-23: "­Gui­delines for Develo­pme­ntally Approp­riate Practi­ce."­ These guidelines address five key aspects of the teacher's role:

Creating a caring community of learners
Teaching to enhance develo­pment and learning
Planning curriculum to achieve important goals
Assessing children's develo­pment and learning
Establishing reciprocal relati­onships with families

Think of these guidelines as five points on a star—a “mariner’s star” to guide our journey to help children learn best. Each point of the star is a vital part of good practice in early care and education. None can be left out or shortc­hanged without seriously weakening the whole.

12 Principles of Child Develo­pment & Learning

1. All areas of develo­pment and learning are important.
2. Learning and develo­pment follow sequences.
3. Develo­pment and learning proceed at varying rates.
4. Develo­pment and learning result from an intera­ction of maturation and experi­ence.
5. Early experi­ences have profound effects on develo­pment and learning.
6. Develo­pment proceeds toward greater comple­xity, self-r­egu­lation, and symbolic or repres­ent­ational capaci­ties.
7. Children develop best when they have secure relati­ons­hips.
8. Develo­pment and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts.
9. Children learn in a variety of ways.
10. Play is an important vehicle for developing self-r­egu­lation and promoting language, cognition, and social compet­ence.
11. Develo­pment and learning advance when children are challe­nged.
12. Children’s experi­ences shape their motivation and approaches to learning.

10 Effective DAP Teaching Strategies

An effective teacher chooses a strategy to fit a particular situation. It’s important to consider what the children already know or can do and the learning goals for the specific situation. Remain flexible and observant, often, if one strategy doesn’t work, another will.
1. Acknow­ledge what children do or say. Let children know that we have noticed by giving positive attention, sometimes through comments, sometimes through just sitting nearby and observing. (“Thanks for your help, Kavi.” “You found another way to show 5.”)
2. Encourage persis­tence and effort rather than just praising and evaluating what the child has done. (“You’re thinking of lots of words to describe the dog in the story. Let’s keep going!”)
3. Give specific feedback rather than general commen­ts. (“The beanbag didn’t get all the way to the hoop, James, so you might try throwing it harder.”)
4. Model attitudes, ways of approa­ching problems, and behavior toward others, showing children rather than just telling them (“Hmm, that didn’t work and I need to think about why.” “I’m sorry, Ben, I missed part of what you said. Please tell me again.”)
5. Demons­trate the correct way to do someth­ing. This usually involves a procedure that needs to be done in a certain way.
6. Create or add challenge so that a task goes a bit beyond what the children can already do. Example: you lay out a collection of chips, count them together and then ask a small group of children to tell you how many are left after they see you removing some of the chips. The children count the remaining chips to help come up with the answer.
7. Ask questions that provoke children’s thinki­ng.­(“If you couldn’t talk to your partner, how else could you let him know what to do?”)
8. Give assistance (such as a cue or hint) to help children work on the edge of their current compet­ence (“Can you think of a word that rhymes with your name, Matt? How about bat . . Matt/bat? What else rhymes with Matt & bat?”)
9. Provide inform­ation, directly giving children facts, verbal labels, and other inform­ati­on. (“This one that looks like a big mouse with a short tail is called a vole.”)
10. Give directions for children’s action or behavi­or. (“Touch each block only once as you count them.” )

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