Developmentally Appropriate Practice


Developmentally appropriate practice, often shortened to DAP, is an approach to teaching grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education.

DAP – wherein teachers and staff base all practices and decisions with the goal of nurturing students’ social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development – is a keystone for the establishment of safe supportive learning environments for young children.


Featured Resources

Cover image of Using Data for R2 Accountability and Improvement

Reviews four key categories of data collected in early childhood settings, clarifies the information each provides, and illustrates how the data are meant to be used to improve practice and quality.

Nonie K. Lesaux, Stephanie Jones, Julie Russ Harris, Robin L. Kane
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 report cover

Outlines position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Includes literature, guidelines, and recommendations for creating developmentally appropriate practices targeted to this age group.