DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice)


DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice) is a teaching approach grounded in the study on how children learn and develop effectively in a positive manner. DAP is the framework that helps towards effective early education for young children and the promotion of children’s most favorable learning and development. DAP is an effective framework that teachers and parents should use in socializing with young children both at an individual and group level. Teachers should however consider the stage of development that the young children belong. This helps teachers to help young children to meet achievable but challenging learning objectives. DAP is the core for all the works by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). These include training programs, official approval of child care curriculum and publications. The NAEYC encourages teacher and parents to consider what a child is capable of doing, knowledge the child posses and learning objectives that suit a specific situation of the child.

DAP Teaching Strategies

There are a numbers of effective strategies that teachers should employ in order to ensure that a child goes through an effective learning path. It is however crucial to determine the level of developmental stage that the child belongs. In the pre-developmental stage (between two and seven years), children are ego-centric meaning that they reflect on things from their own view point (Na 1977). In this stage, the children hold that everyone shares this view point because it is the only point of view that they know and believe. Another characteristic of children in this stage is that they posses animism meaning that every object or item has a level of consciousness. It is possible to see children having a conversation with their toys. Another aspect of children in this stage of pre-developmental stage is that they posses symbolism where they believe that some things symbolize something else (Na 1977). Young children in this stage also possess moral realism in that what they believe to be right or wrong is mutual to everyone else.

One crucial DAP strategy that teachers and parents should employ is that they need to acknowledge what a child says or does. It is crucial for teachers to show that they have noticed what a child has done or said by giving affirmative attention (Na 1977). They may do this giving comments or by being beside the child while he or she does something. Another strategy that is ideal in the learning process for children in the pre-developmental stage is creating or adding challenges. By creating a challenge that is slightly beyond the child, the child is able to learn new things. This is a good approach to the learning process of the child because it helps a child to think and come up with ways of meeting the challenge (Na 1977). The third learning strategy that is effective to a child is encouraging the child’s persistence and effort. This is better than praising and evaluating actions of the child because it helps the child to master his skills towards a particular challenge. Demonstration is the fourth effective DAP strategy that teachers should employ in the learning process of a child. A teacher should show a child how to go about a challenge as this will make it easy for the child to understand and comprehend things.

The learning process of a child in the pre-developmental stage requires a teacher to be aware of the child’s development and learning (Na 1977). This will help the teacher to decide on the best experiences of the child’s learning and development. A teacher should know what is individually appropriate for a child. A teacher should observe the child while he plays and interacts with the environment in order to understand the child’s abilities, interests and developmental progress (Na 1977). A teacher should also be aware of what is culturally important to the child. These include values and expectations of the family that the child comes from.


Egocentrism and animism are some of the factors that limit a child’s development in the pre-development stage. Egocentrism inhibits a child from seeing other peoples’ point of view. This is because they believe that their point of view is the one and only true fact (Na 1977). This prevents a child from embracing other viewpoints thus limiting their ability to learn new things. Animism makes children think that every object has a level of consciousness (Na 1977). An example of this is when a child thinks that the sun might be shy or a television is tired. This act of giving humanistic qualities to inanimate objects limits a child’s ability to develop. It is crucial for teachers and parents to explain to young children and give explanation so that they cannot get it wrong as to why things are the way they are.


Teachers and parents contribute enormously to the development of a child. They should be aware of how to approach a child who belongs to the pre-developmental stage. Most of the children in this stage are inquisitive and are bound to ask a lot of questions about the world around them. Teachers should possess the know-how of how to make children understand the environment and the people around them. This will be beneficial to early education of the child. A child needs to go through the pre-developmental stage successfully in order to comprehend the next stage of development.


NA, Y. C. (1977). Interaction effects between piagetian cognitive developmental stages (pre & concrete) and teaching strategies (inductive & deductive) for concept acquisition. The Florida State University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 110-110 p. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/302850658?accountid=35812. (302850658).



Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.