There are three core concepts of DAP. They include 1. knowing about child development (being aware of what is typical at each age level is key), 2. knowing what is appropriate for each individual (really observing children will help us to learn more about their abilities, interests, and development), and 3. being aware of what is culturally essential (learning about each child's family, values, traditions, expectations, and home life helps us to create more meaningful, appropriate lessons).
Teachers should find a balance between child-directed and teacher-directed lessons. Just as it is not good to focus solely on teacher-directed lessons, it is equally as bad to focus only on child-directed activities. Children need guidance as well as freedom to master a subject so be sure there is a mixture in order to be both successful and developmentally appropriate for students (minute 3:50).
A lesson might be very well developed, have taken much time to put together, and may even be great fun for your students. But the most important question you have to ask yourself is, (p. 2) "Is this lesson developmentally appropriate?" Some questions to consider when you are creating a new lesson include, Does it give children choices? Can children participate at their own individual level? Is it flexible? Does it allow for interaction with others? Find strategies for DAP on p 11 as well.
So much information on DAP is available for teachers to learn how to adopt this practice and various techniques to learn how to incorporate DAP into their own classroom are provided. But first, it starts with RESPECT in the classroom--respect for childhood and honoring that period, respect for the developmental process and recognizing that process, and respect for children as individuals, keeping in mind their diversity, backgrounds, and individuality.
Under Policy Considerations on page 23, it describes the crucial role that we as educators play in a young child's life. Educators set the foundation for all relationships outside of the home, and prepare them for their future. We are the first ones outside of their families to help them develop an understanding of the world. By creating developmentally appropriate material and interactions, they will be better prepared and more successful.