Article Review: Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs
The position statement issued by NAEYC in 2009 maintains that a developmentally appropriate practice is an effective intervention in the field of education. Developmentally appropriate practice is a best practices framework for early childhood education. In discussing this framework, the the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) highlighted the (a) issues in the early childhood education environment, (b) new knowledge that addresses the identified issues, (c) primary considerations in applying the framework, (d) child development and learning principles that guide program implementation, (e ) guidelines in implementing the framework, and (f) implications of the framework in policy.
There are three challenges that the position statement is emphasizing in response to the identified context from which young learners originate. These are “reducing learning gaps and increasing the achievement of all children” (p. 2); “ creating improved, better connected education for preschool and elementary children” (p.3); and “recognizing teacher knowledge and decision making as vital to educational effectiveness ” (p.5).
Among the core ideas of the framework is “meeting children where they are” and leading them forward. To do this, teachers need to be well-informed of what children are capable of accomplishing at that stage and then teachers lead the learners to learn more by introducing effective strategies. Support in terms of enhancing policies for childhood education and funds for the improvement of the curriculum are likewise necessary to continue the gains attained by this new framework.
This article presents a comprehensive picture of institutional response to the issues confronting early childhood education. It is reassuring that the NAEYC regularly updates its position statement to reflect the socio-economic and cultural context of its target participants. However, I find the section on policy considerations lacking in specific recommendations. Although there has been a list of what areas should be included in policy, it would have been more informative if the NAEYC has also listed down policy recommendations that would target specific areas and groups of young learners.
Relevance to educators working with young children
The description of the context as well as the discussion of the principles in child development and learning are very informative for educators. These sections are reminders that to be truly effective it is important to get to know the learners and to apply the principles that have been tested and verified.
NAEYC (2009). Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs
Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Retrieved from http:://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSDAP.pdf