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Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) is a way of teaching promoted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to best promote young children’s development and learning. It outlines best practices for decision making in the classroom based on child developmental principles, characteristics of the individual child, and social and cultural context. The NAEYC published its first position statement, edited by Sue Bredekamp, on DAP in 1986; it revised and republished its statement in 1996 and again in 2009. The revisions addressed concerns that DAP did not adequately take cultural differences into account, as well as make updates according to current research findings in the field of child development. However, critics of DAP say it still cannot adequately address all the needs of ...

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