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Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Developmentally Appropriate Practice


Nicole A. Burrell
Seton Hill University

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Do children learn through everything they do including playing with toys? Yes, children
learn through every activity they participate in, even if they are just playing with toys. While
observing the children, ages three to five, at the child development center on April 4, 2013, I
noticed that children learn through multiple methods. Also, at the child development center, I
observed all of the principles and guidelines of a developmentally appropriate early childhood
program. I now know what developmentally appropriate practices are and how they should be
incorporated into an early childhood program.
First of all, the child development center met all five DAP guidelines. The first guideline,
creating a caring community of learners, was carried out at the center because the teachers called
the students, friends, and the three year old friends, four year old friends and five year old
friends were all together for story time. Also, the friends were encouraged to talk to one another,
share toys and talk to the teachers.The second guideline, teach to enhance development and
learning, was met when the teacher talked to the friends and asked them questions while she read
the story. The teacher said, I need your help, to make sure the friends were paying attention to
her. By reading the story, showing pictures of objects that started with the letter u and creating a
cutout letter u with umbrellas, the teacher appealed to the different learning styles of all of the
friends. The third guideline, construct appropriate curriculum, was met because the teacher
taught her friends about the letter u by using a book, pictures and an activity.The book,
Umbrellabirds Umbrella, taught the friends about the sounds the letter u makes and many
different words that start with the letter u. Also, she showed her friends pictures of objects that
started with the letter u including a unicycle, an umbrella and a unicorn. Then, she had her
friends go back to their seats and glue ten umbrellas to a cutout letter u. The fourth guideline,
assess childrens learning, was achieved when the teacher asked her friends questions about the

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letter u after reading the book. The questions she asked included, What words start with the
letter u and do you think Umbrellabird was happy or sad at the end of the story? Also, the
teachers assessed the friends learning by having the children go back to their seats and glue ten
umbrellas to a cutout letter u, circle u words on a paper near Mrs. Hallam and tell the work study
teachers a word that started with the letter u. Finally, the fifth guideline, establish partnerships
with families, was accomplished because the friends will take their letter u home and show it to
their parents. Therefore, the parents know what their children learned in preschool. Also, the
Top Banana bulletin board with pictures of friends and their families was the first bulletin
board people saw as they walked into the child development center. The teachers asked their
friends about their families and encouraged them to talk about their families. Overall, the child
development center successfully achieved all five DAP guidelines for an early childhood
program.
While observing the DAP guidelines at the child development center, I also observed all
twelve DAP principles. The first principle, domains of childrens development are closely
related, was achieved when the friends crossed their legs and scooted their butts on the floor,
which was physical movement, while talking to the teachers and their peers, which was social.
This example showed how the physical domain and social domain were closely related. Also, the
cognitive domain and emotional domain were closely related when the friends sang the open and
shut them song and showed how happy they were when singing and doing all of the activities.
Finally, the spiritual domain was closely related to all of the other domains because the friends
were encouraged to talk about their families and what ever was on their minds, including the
creation of the world and God. The child development center really focused on fostering their
friends development in all of the domains.

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Then, I noticed the second, third and fourth DAP principles while watching the activities
at the child development center. The second principle, development occurs in a relatively and
orderly sequence, with later abilities, skills and knowledge building on those already acquired,
was achieved when the teacher read the story about the letter u and then showed pictures of
objects that started with the letter u. By completing the activities in this order, the friends learned
about the letter u and then they could tell the teachers a word that started with the letter u. Their
learning occurred in a relatively and orderly sequence. The third principle, development proceeds
at varying rates from child to child as well as unevenly within different areas of each childs
functioning, was noticeable because one friend spoke very well and used complete sentences.
Another friend had a little trouble speaking and using complete sentences because she repeated,
I did, three times before she finished her thought. Also, most friends wrote all of the letters in
their name, but one friend could only write one letter of his name. I observed the fourth principle,
early experiences have both cumulative and delayed effects on individuals childrens
development, when the friends learned about the lower case and upper case letter u. The friends
will use their knowledge on lower case and upper case letters in their future writing endeavors.
Overall, these examples revealed how I saw the first four DAP principles in the child
development center.
After that, I noticed the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth DAP principles by observing the
activities and friends at the child development center. I noticed the fifth principle, development
proceeds in predictable directions toward greater complexity, organization and internalization,
when the friends listened to the story on the letter u and completed their own cutout letter u. The
friends will use their knowledge on the letter u in the future with greater complexity because they
will be able to recognize words with the letter u. The sixth principle, development and learning

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occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts, was achieved when the
friends of different ages were put together for story time and talked to one another. Also, at their
tables, boys and girls sat together so they could talk to each other. I noticed the seventh principle,
children are active learners, the entire time I was at the child development center. I especially
noticed this principle when the one friend listening to the story asked if the guy was hurt and
another friend said, his talented and thats why he wont get hurt. This example showed how
friends learned from each other during the story. Also, the friends learned about the letter u and u
words by completing their cutout letter u and seeing pictures of objects that start with the letter u.
Finally, the eighth principle, development and learning result from interaction of biological
maturation and the environment, was noticeable when some of the friends were outgoing and
willing to answer the teachers questions while other friends were very quiet. I feel that these
friends had different personalities because of their biological maturation and their environment at
home. These examples revealed that the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth DAP principles were
achieved in the child development center.
Finally, I observed the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth principles while watching the
friends at the child development center. I noticed the ninth principle, play is an important vehicle
for children, when the friends were talking to each other while playing and sharing their toy
blocks nicely with each other. The tenth principle, development advances when children have
opportunities to practice newly acquired skills as well as when they experience a challenge, was
accomplished when the students learned about objects that started with the letter u and were
asked to associate the letter u with other objects in the world around them. I observed the
eleventh principle, children demonstrate different modes of knowing and learning and different
ways of representing what they know, when some friends learned about the letter u through the

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story, while some friends learned about the letter u through the picture examples and completing
their own cutout letter u. Finally, the twelfth principle, children develop best in the context of a
community where they are safe and valued, was met because the teachers looked out for the
safety of their friends and listened to their problems. Also, the teachers met the friends physical
needs by taking them to the bathroom and feeding them a snack that everyone could eat.
Overall, I enjoyed observing at the child development center because I could watch the friends in
their natural environment and I saw the DAP principles in action.