Developmentally Appropriate Practices and Play
Children have changing physical, cognitive, emotional, language and social capabilities that occur in the context of family, culture, community, past experiences and circumstances. Play reflects their development.
“During the earliest stages the child perceives things like a solipsist who is unaware of himself as subject and is familiar only with his own actions.” ~ Jean Piaget
Developmentally appropriate practices are based on how children develop and learn, and match it to strategies and content. It is important to respect their changing capabilities and view them in the context of family, culture, community, past experiences and circumstances.
Play is important for children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Development is the interaction between biological maturation and the environment. Physical, cognitive, emotional, language and social development are interrelated and development in one area influences the other. Skills, abilities and knowledge are built in a sequence. Development is uneven in different areas and occurs at varying rates; however, children’s early experiences are cumulative and could affect their development. Development moves from easy to complex and from concrete experiences to abstract thought.
Children are active learners and learning occurs in social and cultural settings. Children need opportunities to practice skills in an environment that provides opportunities and challenges. Remember that children present what they know in different ways and play reflects their development.
Wellhousen, K. & Crowther, I. (2004). Creating Effective Learning Environments. Cengage Learning. New York.