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The context in which early childhood programs operate today is characterized by ongoing discussion between parents, teachers, and the research community about how best to teach young children and what sort of practice is most likely to contribute to their development and learning. Recent studies show that many teachers who say they believe in developmentally appropriate practice do not have developmentally appropriate classrooms. Studies also indicate that teachers who receive in-service training on developmentally appropriate practices via workshops, site visits, and journal reflections reported a greater tendency to use these practices in the classroom.
There is no singular formula for developmentally appropriate practice. Rather, teachers use these strategies to make day-to-day decisions based on the individual children, their families, and the social and culture context.
There are five basic guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice. The first one being to create a caring community of learners. Developmentally appropriate practices support the development of relationships between adults and children, among children, among teachers, and between families and teachers. Teach to enhance development and learning is the next guideline that goes with developmentally appropriate practices. Early childhood teachers strive to achieve a balance between guiding children’s learning and following their lead. To construct an appropriate curriculum is also an important aspect in developmentally appropriate practice. The content of early childhood curriculum includes the subject matter, social or cultural values, parents’ input, and the age and experience of the children. The forth guideline is to assess children’s learning and development. Assessment of individual children’s development and learning is essential for planning and implementing appropriate curriculum. The last guideline is to establish mutually be...
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