Developmentally Appropriate Practice

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The expression Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) is widely used by professionals who take care of children. As there is no one right way to take care of children as each of them is a unique individual and learn differently at different stages, DAP is essential in the development of a child. DAP refers to care or education that meets the child’s individual needs at a particular age or developmental level. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1996). Developmentally and culturally appropriate practice (DCAP) is an expansion of DAP and its goal is to bring awareness to diversity in the form of students’ races, genders, ethnicities,…show more content…
Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget, believed that children go through four universal stages of cognitive development; Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational and Formal Operational stage (Simply Psychology, 2009). Piaget believes that the child attains certain attributes at different stages of development. In the sensorimotor stage, child learns new things by experiencing the world through their five senses; seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling and moving around. Object permanence is another key feature in this stage where the child has the ability to know that objects continue to exist even though they can no longer be seen (About Education, n.d.). In the preoperational stage, which takes place between two to seven years of age, child learns through pretend play and is able to manipulate symbols. Child also displays egocentrism as he is unable to take the point of view of other people. With DAP being implemented, there is no pressure during the process of learning as the practices are catered to the child’s own developmental pace and direction of learning. Child will not take learning as a burden but instead enjoy the whole process of learning. Child will also obtain optimal growth in each developmental stage as practices are child centred; they learn what they want to…show more content…
Russian Psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, suggested that scaffolding might be provided by either adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. He believes in the importance of social influences, especially instruction, on children’s cognitive development and is reflected in his concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD). ZPD is Vygotsky’s term for the range of tasks that are too difficult for the child to master alone but that can be learned with guidance and assistance of adults or more capable peers. The lower limit of the ZPD is the level of skill that can be achieved by the child independently whereas the upper limit is the level of additional responsibility the child can accept with assistance (Vygotsky, 1978). With proper guidance by more able adults or peers implemented within the DAP, child will be not only be able to learn independently but also to go beyond their limits as stated in the ZPD and reach their optimal

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