NAEYC Publication

Calling all early childhood professionals! The highly anticipated release of the 4th edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs is now available. So, what is meant by DAP? The revised edition defines DAP as “ methods that promote each child’s optimal development and learning through a strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning. I believe using this text for thoughtful reflection and civic dialogue can help spark and reignite early childhood educators in advocating for evidenced based practices.  And in some cases might help educators return back to the practices and concepts that make early childhood education unique.

This is not a text one sits down and reads from front to back. This is one of those resources that you will find yourself going back to time and time again and reviewing sections that are most relevant and meaningful to you. Whether you are new to DAP or a veteran, you will likely find it helpful to start with the preface of this book for the history and context on DAP as well as the introduction and position statement for the highlights of DAP. After that, consider your own individual goals or the goals of your program to determine what concepts you want to explore deeper. In my work, I have always found the three core considerations helpful to serve as broad areas to guide decision making. Check out chapter 1 for more information on the 3 core considerations. I still have more to explore in the recent publication and will continue to go back to it, and encourage you to do the same. For now, a few of my favorite sections to prompt reflective discussion among colleagues includes, page 8, “Moving from Either/Or to Both/And Thinking and page 59, “Rethinking Special Needs versus Disability.”

So, what are you waiting for? Ask your administrators to purchase some copies and start the conversation now!

If you are looking for other ways to learn about DAP, check out the STAR NET Regions I and III podcast DAP series hosted by Emily Reilly. Also, look for the Community of Practice series on DAP and Individualized Learning with STAR NET in spring 2023.

Reviewed By: Emily Reilly