“I believe in it, it’s a pretty solid teacher bible!” Student teachers’ understanding of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) : alignment with NAEYC definitions and recommended practices

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mauri C. Mckoy (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Karen La Paro

Abstract: Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) refers to a research-based framework that outlines principles and guidelines that promote optimal education for young children and frames educators’ use of intentional decision making. It is defined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) as “teaching methods that honor children’s individual strengths and the role of play in children’s learning” (NAEYC, 2020, p. 5). NAEYC provides specific recommendations to guide educators’ instruction. Student teachers have the responsibility of providing children with meaningful learning experiences that reflect DAP in order to facilitate and support young children’s development, growth, and optimal learning. The aims of the current study were to: 1) examine the understanding of and beliefs about DAP and how DAP practices are/should be reflected in the classroom of students who have completed student teaching, 2) examine how their definitions and discussions align with NAEYC’s definition, and 3) highlight experiences that students report as contributing to their knowledge of DAP. Interviews focused on DAP were conducted with seven early childhood student teachers at the end of their student teaching experience. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes to answer each research question. Findings revealed that when defining DAP, participants frequently acknowledged individualization and ability-appropriateness specific to age. Participants’ reports related to the importance of assessing, creating a community of learners, and achieving meaningful goals. Lastly, influences on knowledge of DAP were reported to be childhood experiences and course readings throughout the teacher preparation program. Implications for future research teacher preparation programs are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2022
Developmentally appropriate practice, NAEYC, Preservice teachers, Recommendations for Educators, Student teachers
Early childhood teachers $x Training of
Student teachers $x Attitudes
Early childhood education

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