Developmentally appropriate practice refers to a mode of education that focuses on the child as a developing human being and a constant learner. In this approach a child is seen as an active member in the learning process. The program has five characteristics. First, the program is aimed at social, emotional and cognitive development. Its main focus is on children learning to take turns on what they are doing, to respect others and feeling good when one makes an achievement. Second, children are allowed to grow at their own pace and pursue their own interest without being told what to do to some extent, normally behavior changes as one grows.
‘’The head start program served as a pre-school model to provide equal educational opportunities for ‘at risk’ children” (Bredekamp(b), 259). Thirdly, the child controls his/her own learning by the shadow of discovery and exploration and not being controlled by the teachers which is best done when they have important learning material with them. Fourthly, the activities given to a child matches his or her current level of functioning with the aim of making the child participate in activities that require skills just slightly in advance of those already in the child’s list hence trying to widen his thinking or reasoning slowly by slowly.
Lastly, is realistic academic orientation where children are introduced without pushing the child too far academically but in accordance to the level he best fits (Carta 251). Discussions around developmentally appropriate practice ensure that children understand the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language. Children gain understanding of things through talking about them and designing appropriate learning techniques. A teacher must always study and know that children make broad assumptions on their typical behaviors in certain age stages. With this knowledge, decisions can be made ahead of time regarding materials, room set up and activities. Practical work also determines the mental stage a child is in. One can pretty much test for intelligence with a simple drawing a child makes because it tells a lot about him.
It can also be done through observations, clinical work and talking to families. Teachers can incorporate different family traditions or cultural backgrounds using direct teaching from the parents or cultural backgrounds to educate and help children respect a diverse group of people. Teachers should set the environment to make the learning process have the most impact to children hence providing a unique experience where their teachers meet them and help bring education to the next level (Bredekamp(a), 139). Early experience acquired in early stages at pre-kindergarten has deep effects on a child’s development and learning both on a positive and negative way. Children’s early experiences, whether positive or negative, are cumulative. Much of the studies and lessons taken at pre-kindergarten are mostly practical and extra-curricular activities, for example counting sticks, spelling classes and playing in-door and outdoor games. The child’s social experiences with other children in pre-kindergarten help the child develop social skills and confidence that enable him or her to make friends in subsequent years, and these experiences further enhance the child’s social competence and academic achievement.
Play-based activities are also a good way of demonstrating developmentally appropriate practices. Outdoor activities provide an open ground to enable the teachers understand the children well because the way they play and carry themselves outside, gives a guide on how he should be handled (Bredekamp,87).
Bredekamp, Sue. Developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC.
, 1987. Print. Bredekamp, Sue. “The Relationship Between Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education: Healthy Marriage or Family Feud?” Topics in Early Childhood Special Education (Fall 1993): 258-274. Carta, Judith, et al.
“A Reaction to Johnson and McChesney Johnson.” Topics in Early Childhood Special Education (Fall 1993): 243-255.