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Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Developmentally appropriate practice means you use knowledge about child development to create a program that is suitable for the age and stage of development of your group of children. At the same time, your program considers the needs of the individual child.

  • Age appropriate. You use information about typical development within a specific age span to plan a learning environment and experiences.
  • Individual appropriateness. You understand each child is unique with his or her own pattern and timing of development. You plan your curriculum to respond to individual differences.
  • Child-guided and teacher-guided experiences. You allow time for children to select activities from the many experiences you have prepared. You plan interactive small-group and large-group activities.
  • Culturally and socially responsive. You respect the social and cultural context in which children live.
  • Play. You support children's play as a way for them to learn.

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