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A Three-Step Approach to Identifying Developmentally Appropriate Practices

“Instruction must be developmentally appropriate!” This, or some variation thereof, is something we use and hear frequently in education. However, if you ask someone to define what “developmentally appropriate” means, few can articulate a clear response or envision what it actually looks like in practice. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) as meeting students where they are and helping them to meet challenging but achievable learning goals (Copple, Bredekamp, Koralek, & Charner, 2013). Copple et al. (2013) suggest that effective implementation of DAP requires three things:
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