The Edvocate’s Guide to Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Developmentally appropriate practices is the process of making a curriculum based on what learners can do cognitively, physically, and emotionally at a certain age. Of course, not each kid develops at the same rate, so, often, there’s a range of considered developmentally appropriate capabilities for each age.

We expect kindergartners to be able to skip, walk up steps, count objects,  and share with other kids. First graders will start to recognize patterns in words and numbers, have the motor skills to grip a pencil, and better respond to social situations.

As they grow older, barring a physical or learning disability, kids will be expected to progress in cognitive and physical development, take on responsibility, have self-control, interact socially with peers, and figure out how to understand complex ideas.

Every first-grader can write his or her name, and can hold a pencil and write letters. Creating lesson plans and activities that incorporate each learner’s different learning styles and skill levels can be a challenge in a class environment. Developmentally appropriate practice may mean something different, even among kids in the same class.

Writing Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum

There are three main areas to contemplate when personalizing a developmentally appropriate curriculum. Understanding what is typical at each stage of a young kid’s development is essential and influences decisions.

You also need to understand what is appropriate for each kid. Watching kids in play activity can give essential insights into their progress and capabilities. The NAEYC also recommends basing decisions about developmentally appropriate practices on a kid’s cultural and family background.

Most curricula utilize a few guidelines to decide developmentally appropriate practices. They allow kids to explore their environment and get hands-on experience in learning activities with minor supervision.

There must be a balance between group activity and independent activity, which is essential for introverted or easily overwhelmed kids. A balance between high energy activity and quiet activity also is essential. Do a little research, and you will find that many learning theories are based on integrating developmentally appropriate learning.

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