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.
All domains of development – cognitive, physical, social and emotional – are inter-related. Experiences in one domain influence development in others.
DAP is synonymous with positive school climate – both offer young students positive relationships and emotional and physical safety at school.
DAP, like the concept of “safe supportive learning,” is not an “add on” curriculum – it’s an approach.