We often use the phrase “developmentally appropriate practice” in describing our school. This is what we mean by that phrase.
Developmentally appropriate practice is the methodology our preschool uses to provide a program and environment consistent with a child’s developmental abilities and needs. Our understanding of child development- how children grow and learn- guides how we teach and interact with them throughout the school day. The National Association of the Education of Young Children is the nationally recognized authority on developmentally appropriate practice; their summary of developmental principles forms a useful guide to understanding child development and its stages.
- Children develop and learn best in the context of a community where they are safe and valued, their physical needs are met, and they feel psychologically secure.
- The physical, social, emotional, creative, and cognitive development of a child are closely interrelated and have an effect on one another.
- Development occurs in a relatively orderly sequence, with later abilities, skills, and knowledge building on those already acquired.
- This orderly sequence can be seen in child’s social play, art, writing, block play, and outside activities. We observe children’s progress through the stages and support and encourage it.
- While the sequence is orderly, the development proceeds at varying rates from child to child and unevenly within different areas of each child’s functioning.
- Development advances when children have opportunities to repeatedly practice newly acquired skills as well as when they experience a challenge just beyond the level of their present mastery.
- Children are active learners, drawing on direct physical and social experience as well as culturally transmitted knowledge to construct their own understanding of the world around them.
- Play is an all-important vehicle for children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
- Children demonstrate different modes of knowing and learning and different ways of representing what they know.
Utilizing these principles of child development helps us to create the best possible program for children.Tweet