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Differentiation or differentiated instruction (sometimes referred to as DI) is the adaptations or changes made to instruction in order to meet all learners’ needs. This entry describes the reasons for differentiation in early childhood education and how to create differentiated instruction in the classroom.

Rationale for Differentiation

Differentiation is based on the philosophy that all children can learn but each child is unique and learns at his or her own pace. Instruction is not one size fits all, and very young children—even if they are all the same chronological age—can span a range of developmental milestones. It may also be important to note what differentiation is not. It is not a different program of study for each student (this would be an individualized education plan or program ...

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