Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Check out our section devoted to developmentally appropriate practices for children.  Take a look at some of our articles on character building, etiquette, responsibility, playing, accepting differences and learning styles and find out how these practices can help make your child care center a step above the rest.

Developmental Practices

Developmentally appropriate practices are based on the developmental needs of the children they serve.  There are two aspects:  Age-appropriateness and individual appropriateness.

Developmentally appropriate practices should be designed for the
age group being served, taking into consideration the specific needs and differences of each child, including culture and language. Experiences for children should be interesting and mentally challenging as well as active and enjoyable.

To encourage developmentally appropriate practices , the children's environment should be well organized, clearly defined and easily accessible.  Furniture should be arranged to promote both
small group interaction and group discussion.  Children learn best when they can construct their own knowledge and figure out things for themselves.  As children grow, they develop and acquire new skills and experiences that facilitate learning.  Developmentally appropriate practices are based on seven principals that acknowledge children as active learners.

Principals Of Developmentally Appropriate Practice

To provide resourceful, caring staff
To recognize the importance of peers
To provide opportunities for same-age and mixed-aged groupings
To promote self-selected activities and experiences
To experience positive guidance and discipline techniques
To provide a wide variety of activities individually as well as in small and large groups
To provide for the WHOLE child.

Be responsible to children's questions; give children enough time to play and interact with materials
Provide opportunities to interact with peers; encourage friendship
Encourage physical activities such as games, sports, field trips, kids' clubs, drama, dance and art
Offer open-end activities; provide choice; allow children to organize activities themselves
Involve children in rule making; help them understand limits; encourage problem recognition and solving
Allow children to use modeling clay, cook or paint; offer opportunities for individual and team sports; let children choose books based on their age and interests, and
Provide opportunities to modify and personalize the environment; allow for independence.

More Information

To further your understanding of developmentally appropriate practices, check out our articles on character building, etiquette, responsibilitiy, the valuable lessons in games, the importance of play time, lessons in money, behavior, differences, heros, toilet training, diversity, learning styles, and ethnic differences.