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DAP: Twelve Principles of Child Development & Learning

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  • 0:04 Teaching Third Graders
  • 0:33 Developmentally…
  • 1:16 Three Core Considerations
  • 1:49 Twelve Fundamental Principles
  • 5:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children has put forth 12 principles of child development and learning. This lesson will review these principles and provide examples of how they can be applied in education.

Teaching Third Graders

Imagine that you are a substitute teaching third grade for the rest of the school year because the full-time teacher is out on maternity leave. You've noticed that the lesson plans that were left for you include some activities that leave you a little puzzled.

You see that a weekly show and tell session is incorporated as well as costume dress-up time. You wonder if these activities are developmentally appropriate for eight-year-olds since they seem more appropriate for younger children. Are there are guidelines in place for age-appropriate instruction?

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) refers to guidelines that provide best practice educational advice to teachers and practitioners who work with children from birth through the age of eight. DAP encourages teachers to provide children with age-appropriate materials and activities according to their level of development. It allows teachers freedom in teaching and encourages them to be thoroughly educated in early childhood development.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) , is a professional association grounded on developmentally appropriate practices in education. NAEYC believes that DAP has three core considerations and twelve fundamental principles. Let's look at each of these in turn.

Three Core Considerations

The three core considerations for educators as outlined for DAP by the NAEYC include:

  1. Understanding child development and learning - educators need to know the ages and stages of child development and what children are interested and engaged in at each stage.
  2. Knowing what is individually appropriate - this encourages educators to see each child as a unique individual.
  3. Understanding what is culturally appropriate - considering the United States is referred to as the 'melting pot', it's important to be versed in cultures other than our own so we can develop cultural competence.

Twelve Fundamental Principles

NAEYC developed twelve principles of child development and learning. Educators are encouraged to refer to the principles in developing their lesson plans and while working with individual students. Let's take a look at each one of these and consider how they might be applied in early education:

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