Each week, 12.5 million children younger than the age of 5 are in some type of child care arrangement (US Census Bureau, 2014). and each of these program settings differ.
• developmentally appropriate practice (DAP)
• five key areas kindergarteners
• mixed-age groups
• school readiness
Types of Programs:
• Traditional Nursery School
• Head Start
• Universal Pre-Kindergarten or UPK
• Center Based: Child Care
• Family Child Care
Examples [for your written task; select and explore one of the programs below]:
Little Lukes http://www.littlelukes.com/ccpreschool.html
Hugs Plus Child Care & Preschool http://www.hugsplus.com/
Canton Day Care Center http://cantondaycarecenter.org/
La Petite Academy http://www.lapetite.com/
Bright Horizons Family Solutions http://www.brighthorizons.com/
Example of Reggio-Inspired Program: http://www.museumofplay.org/education/woodbury-school
Learning Objectives LO1 Examine the underlying theo-
retical principles of develop- mentally appropriate prac- tices applied to a variety of early childhood programs.
LO2 Describe the core programs of early childhood education, program types, and their dif- fering philosophies.
LO3 Identify the variation of pro- gram options and range of delivery systems that impact the lives of children and their families.
LO4 Assess early childhood pro- grams utilizing indicators of quality early childhood prac- tices that support all children including those with diverse characteristics.
Standards For Professional Development The following NAEYC standards for initial and advanced early childhood profes- sional preparation are addressed in this chapter: Standard 1 Promoting child development and learning Standard 2 Building family and community relationships Standard 3 Observing, documenting, and assessing to support young children
and families Standard 4 Using developmentally effective approaches to connect with chil-
dren and families Standard 5 Using content knowledge to build meaningful curriculum Standard 6 Becoming a professional Field Experience
Code of Ethical Conduct These are the sections of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct that apply to the topics of this chapter:
Section I: I-1.2 To base program practices upon current knowledge and research in the field
of early childhood education, child development and related disciplines as well as on particular knowledge of each child.
P-1.7 We shall strive to build individual relationships with each child: make individ- ual adaptations in teaching strategies, learning environment, and curricula; and consult with the family so that each child benefits from the program.
Section II: I-2.8 To help family members enhance their understanding of their children, as
staff are enhancing their understanding of each child through communica- tions with families, and support family members in the continuing develop- ment of their skills as parents.
P-2.2 We shall inform families of program philosophy, policies, curriculum, assess- ment system, cultural practices, and personnel qualifications, and explain why we teach as we do—which should be in accordance with our ethical responsibilities to children.
Section IV: I.4.1 To provide the community with high quality early childhood care and educa-
tion programs and services. P.4-6 We shall be familiar with laws and regulations that serve to protect the chil-
dren in our programs and be vigilant in ensuring that these laws and regula- tions are followed.
2 Types of Programs
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40 S E C T I O N 1 ● What Is the Field of Early Childhood Education?
Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Throughout this text and whenever NAEYC principles are discussed, we use the term developmentally appropri- ate practice. What exactly is developmentally appropri- ate practice, or DAP, as it is more familiarly known?
More than 20 years ago, NAEYC published a posi- tion paper, which articulated standards for high quality care and education for young children. The guidelines were a response to the need for a set of unified standards for accreditation through NAEYC’s newly established National Academy of Early Childhood, and gave a nec- essary antidote to the more teacher-directed, academic preparation and skills-teaching methods that were en- croaching on many early childhood programs.
The DAP approach stressed the need for activity-based learning environments based on what we know about chil- dren through years of child development research and what we observe of their interests, abilities, and needs. The position paper was revised over the years to be more inclu- sive by moving from an “either/or” point of view to that of “both/and.” In other words, there are many right ways to apply DAP principles.
Three Core Components of DAP The position statement of “Developmentally Appropri- ate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Chil- dren from Birth through Age 8” (NAEYC, 2009) cites three core considerations on which teachers and caregiv- ers should base their decisions about young children’s growth and development:
1. What is known about child development and learning— knowledge of age-related characteristics that permit general predictions about what experiences are likely to best promote children’s learning and development. This is the core around which the idea of develop- mentally appropriate is built.
2. What is known about each child as an individual— what practitioners learn about each child that has implications for how best to adapt and be respon- sive to individual variations.
3. What is known about the social and cultural contexts in which children live—the values, expectations, and behavioral and linguistic conventions that shape children’s lives at home and in their communities that practitioners must strive to understand in order to ensure that learning experiences in the program
or school are meaningful, relevant, and respectful for each child and family. Figure 2-1 shows how these three core principles work together.
The following scenario shows how these core consid- erations are applied when planning a developmentally appropriate program for toddlers:
1. What does child development tell us about toddlers? We know that toddlers express their need to do every- thing by themselves, usually more than they can actu- ally achieve. They like to feel independent and learn quickly if given a little help and then encouraged to do what they can for themselves (see Chapters 3 and 4 for more detail).
2. What do we know about each child as an individual? Many of these toddlers rely on their parents to help them put on their clothes, feed them, or put their toys away. Others are being taught these tasks at home. Most of the children come to the teachers for assistance and a few ask for help. One toddler will persist at a dressing task for nearly five minutes while another will throw shoes across the floor if they do not fit the first time.
3. What do we know about the social and cultural con- text in each child’s life? Most of the children in this group come from homes in which help is readily available from siblings and extended family mem- bers. The group’s dominant cultural values and child-rearing practices reinforce dependence and community, although there is a smaller group of families that want their children to become inde- pendent as soon as possible.
By looking at all three core considerations together, we have some decisions to make about setting goals toward greater independence for the toddlers. Respecting cultural and social contexts means we begin by talking to families,
Family & Cultural
FIGURE 2-1 There are a variety of early childhood programs to fit the needs of children and their families.
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41C h A P T E r 2 ● Types of Programs
perhaps at a parent meeting, in which families are invited to share their child-rearing practices from their cultural viewpoint. Once we have an understanding of what fami- lies expect and want, we have an opportunity to work to- gether to negotiate a solution that will be beneficial both for the toddlers and for the families. When developmen- tally appropriate elements are taken into consideration, the bonds between families and teachers are strengthened and the best interests of the children prevail.
Guidelines for DAP DAP provides the context for learning environments in which children’s abilities are matched to the developmental tasks they need to learn. DAP is based on what we know about how children learn and what we know about indi- vidual children and their families. This collective knowl- edge is applied to each decision that is made about the program. Copple and Bredekamp (2009) suggest five key areas of practice that guide the decision-making process.
1. Creating a Caring Community of Learners begins with programs that support and value all children, regardless of age, ability, gender, or racial and ethnic
background and where respectful, cooperative, and positive relationships create optimum learning con- ditions. The learning environment has a positive emotional climate that supports the enjoyment of learning and fosters each member’s well-being.
2. Teaching to Enhance Development and Learning includes a balance of teacher-directed and child- initiated learning, time for in-depth exploration, integrated curriculum, and scaffolded learning.
3. Planning Curriculum to Achieve Important Goals reflects the knowledge of how children learn, what they learn, and when they learn it. Articulated goals include standards to be met. Curriculum relates to children’s interests and needs and includes all devel- opmental domains.
4. Assessing Children’s Development and Learning is on- going and monitors each child’s progress in meeting program goals. Assessment methods include obser- vations and work samples and the results are used to plan curriculum that further the effectiveness of classroom experiences.
5. Establishing Reciprocal Relationships with Families means developing collaborative relationships with families that promote a sense of partnership based on mutual need, understanding, and negotiation.
Each chapter of this text, individually and collectively, supports and demonstrates these five guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices in developmen- tally appropriate programs.
DAP in Action Developmentally appropriate principles reflect the many intentional decisions teachers make based on their knowl- edge of how children learn and grow. Developmentally appropriate principles benefit children in many ways:
1. In constructing their own understanding of con- cepts and from instruction by more competent peers and adults.
2. Through opportunities to see connections across disciplines through integration of curriculum and engaging in in-depth study.
3. With a predictable structure and routine in the learning environment and from the teacher’s flexibil- ity and spontaneity in responding to children’s emerging ideas, needs, and interests.
4. By making meaningful choices about what children will do.
5. From situations that challenge children to work at the edge of their capacities and from ample oppor- tunities to practice newly acquired skills.
A developmentally appropriate program takes into consider- ation this child’s age, individual abilities, and the culture of her home and family.
o f t
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42 S E C T I O N 1 ● What Is the Field of Early Childhood Education?
What DAP Looks Like ● Programs and curriculum respond to the children’s
interests as well as their needs.
While digging in the sand pit, four children uncover water. Others rush to see it. The teacher sees their in- terest and asks them about the bridges and tunnels they are starting to build.
● Children are actively involved in their own learning, choosing from a variety of materials and equipment.
Some children search the yard for materials that will bridge the water. Others go inside to find the big book on bridges. Still others dig in other areas of the sandpit to find more water and to try building tunnels for the water. One child finds a walnut shell and floats it on the water. The teacher encourages and supports each child’s involvement.
● Play is the primary context in which young children learn and grow.
Each day, the children rush outside to see their bridges and tunnels. The teacher has helped them find materi- als that will act as a cover over the bridge. Inside, sev- eral children are making dolls from twigs and fabric scraps to use in the project.
● Teachers apply what they know about each child and use a variety of strategies, materials, and learning ex- periences to be responsive to individual children.
Josephina is drawing a picture of the bridge and is having trouble with the arches. Knowing that Josephina is some- what shy and uneasy in large groups, the teacher asks Aldo (who is easygoing and loves to draw) to look at Josephina’s picture to see if he might help her. The two children focus on the drawing, each making observations that help Josephina take the next step in her artwork.
● Teachers consider widely held expectations about each age group and temper that with challenging yet achievable learning goals.
In preparation for a field trip to see two bridges that are near the school, the teacher sets out her expectations (walk with a buddy, stay together, stay on the sidewalk, do not run, etc.). Because this is their first field trip of the school year, the teacher rehearses the children for several days prior to the trip. Music and rhythm accom- pany them as they practice walking with a friend and play number games of “two-by-two” during group times.
● Teachers understand that any activity has the po- tential for different children to realize different learning from the same experience.
After the field trip, Josephina draws a different type of arch for her bridges. Selena, Gracie, and Sam take over the block corner to build bridges and tunnels; three others join them. Maddie finds a book on flowers; they look like some of the flowers she saw on the way to the bridges. Reilly wants to play London Bridge at group time.
● All aspects of development—physical, social- emotional, cognitive, and language—are integrated in the activities and opportunities of the program.
The bridge project promotes physical (walking, digging), cognitive (learning how bridges and tunnels are built, researching in books), language (construction terms, such as piers, spans, suspension), social-emotional (pairing up two-by-two), and creative (drawing a bridge, adding flowers, trying tunnels).
Each of these examples shows how to meet the needs of all children, no matter their abilities and background. Keep in mind that while each principle defines one par- ticular factor, all of the principles are interrelated and that cultural and social differences, for instance, are a factor in all of the principles.
Early Childhood Core Programs From the types available, to the numbers of children who attend these schools, the name of the game in early child- hood programs is diversity. The range can encompass a morning nursery school for toddlers, a primary school classroom, an infant-parent stimulation program, or a full child care service for 3- to 6-year-olds. Some programs
Watch the TeachSource Video Case entitled “Curriculum Planning: Implementing Developmentally Appropriate Prac- tice in an Early Childhood Program.” After you study the video clip, view the artifacts, and read the teacher interviews and text, reflect on the following questions:
1. What examples of developmentally appropriate prac- tices did you see or hear mentioned by preschool teacher Ke Nguyen and her colleagues? Compare and contrast your observations with the text.
2. how would you judge the quality of this program? What are some of the criteria you would use?
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43C h A P T E r 2 ● Types of Programs
run for only a half-day; others are open from 6:00 AM until 7:00 PM. Still other centers, such as hospitals, accept children on a drop-in basis or for 24-hour care. Child care arrangements can range from informal home- based care to more formal school or center settings. Reli- gious institutions, school districts, community-action groups, parents, governments, private social agencies, and businesses may run schools.
Factors That Determine Types of Programs Programs in early childhood settings are defined by many factors, and each is an integral part of the mission of the program. Any given program is a combination of these factors and each has an impact on the quality and type of learning that takes place. Some of the factors that influence programs are:
1. Ages of the children who are being served 2. Philosophical, theoretical, or theological ideals 3. Goals of the program 4. Purpose for which the program was established 5. Requirements of sponsoring agency 6. Quality and training of teaching staff
“One of the most profound aspects of education in the United States today is its cultural complexity” (Hyun, 2007). The need for consistency between a child’s home culture and school, what Hyun calls “culturally congruent learning,” challenges today’s teachers to be cul- turally responsive in all areas of teach- ing. Culturally appropriate practice is the ability to go beyond one’s own sociocultural background to ensure equal and fair teaching and learning experiences for all. This concept, developed by Hyun (1998, 2007), expands DAP to address cultural com- plexities that emphasize the adult’s ability to reflect more than a single perspective or knowledge. Preparing teachers and caregivers for multicul- turalism is not just about becoming sensitive to race, gender, ethnicity,
religion, socioeconomic status, or sex- ual orientation, according to Hyun. It is also related to an understanding of the way individual histories, families of origin, and ethnic family cultures make us similar to and yet different from others. Through such insights, teachers are able to help all children develop a sense of their own self- identity as they respond to the emerg- ing identities of others.
Teachers support a more culturally congruent atmosphere when they ad- dress the social and cultural context in which children live by asking themselves:
1. Do the activities and materials help children see the relationship between what happens in school and the lives of their home and community?
2. Does their learning create new possibilities for multicultural understandings?
3. Is the inclusion of cultural knowledge and materials done without demeaning or devaluing a child’s heritage?
4. Do the activities and materials support one culture’s domination over others?
There are many ways to meet the third core component of DAP that highlight the importance of connect- ing a child’s sense of cultural continu- ity between home, school, and com- munity. Interview a teacher of an early childhood program about how their program promotes cultural congruity. Would you add any questions to the previous list?
Developmentally and Culturally Appropriate Practice (DCAP)
Individual attention and warm relationships are essential components of every program.
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44 S E C T I O N 1 ● What Is the Field of Early Childhood Education?
7. Shape, size, and location of physical environment 8. Cultural, ethnic, economic, and social make-up of
the community 9. Financial stability
Programs for young children also exist to serve a number of needs, which impact programs goals and mis- sion. Some of these are:
● Caring for children while parents work (e.g., family child care homes or child care centers)
● Enrichment programs for children (e.g., half-day nursery school or laboratory school)
● Educational programs for parent and child (e.g., parent cooperatives, parent–child public school programs, or high school parent classes)
● An activity arena for children (e.g., most early childhood programs)
● Academic or readiness instruction (e.g., primary grades and many pre-kindergarten programs)
● Culturally or religiously specific programs (e.g., a school setting with a definitive ethnic focus or a church-related school that teaches religious dogma)
These programs generally reflect the needs of society as a whole. Millions of mothers of children younger than age 6 are in the labor force. Early childhood programs pro- vide a wide range of services for children to meet the de- mands of working parents. In 2008, 78 percent of mothers with children from ages 6 to 17 were in the labor force, compared with 64 percent of mothers with children younger than the age of 6 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011).
Special Program Features A program usually has any number of goals or missions. One mission may be to encourage children to learn from one another. This philosophy has two important features that are reflected in many early childhood programs. The following two sections describe how mixed-age group- ings and looping contribute to the goals of the program.
Mixed-Age Groupings Placing children of several age levels into the same class- room is called mixed-age grouping. In these classes, younger children learn from older children and older children learn by teaching younger children. This prac- tice is often referred to as family, heterogeneous, vertical, or ungraded grouping and has been around for many years. The one-room schoolhouse, the schools of Reggio Emilia, Waldorf schools, and Montessori programs re- flect mixed-age groupings. The age range among children in mixed-age groups varies, and there is usually a differ- ence from 2 to 4 years.
There are many advantages to mixed-age groups:
● The program is geared toward the needs of each child’s developmental level and pace, allowing chil- dren to advance as they are ready.
● A sense of family and community is fostered through caring and a sense of responsibility toward one another. Siblings may be in the same class.
● Social skills are enhanced as children learn from and model interactions with children of different ages.
● A wide range of behaviors, learning styles, and tem- peraments are valued and accepted. Older children learn patience as they help younger children prob- lem solve. Younger children are challenged by older peers who teach them more complex activities.
● Cooperative learning is encouraged. ● Teachers come to know and understand children in
greater depth that allows them to build programs and curriculum well-suited to each child’s strengths and challenges.
There are challenges associated with mixed-age groupings. The potential for older children to take over and/or overwhelm the younger ones is real, as is the pos- sibility that younger children will pester the older chil- dren. This requires monitoring by the teaching staff, and the Reggio Emilia schools offer a good model of this process. In these Italian programs, older children have the responsibility to work with the younger children, explain- ing things and helping them find appropriate roles to take in their projects.
The academic and social advantages of mixed-age grouping cannot occur without a variety of activities from which children may freely choose and the opportunity for small groups of children to work together. Teachers must be intentional about encouraging children to work with others who have skills and knowledge they do not yet possess, and teachers need adequate preparation to suc- ceed with a mixed-age group.
It is easy to see how mixed-age groupings reflect the principles of Dewey, Piaget, Gardner, and Vygotsky, whose “zone of proximal development” is made more available through the interactions of peers as well as adults. The practice of mixed-age grouping has much to commend it and must be seriously addressed as an issue in programs for young children.
Looping: Continuity of Care The practice of keeping a teacher and the same group of children together in the same class for at least two years is called looping. As with mixed-aged grouping, it is an old idea revisited to provide greater continuity of care and education. Today, looping is customary in the Waldorf
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45C h A P T E r 2 ● Types of Programs
schools, Reggio Emilia programs, and Montessori, and it has emerged in other programs for a number of reasons. Proponents of looping suggest that it:
● Offers stability and emotional security to children and allows them to grow at their own rate.
● Gives teachers a greater opportunity to get to know children and therefore be able to individualize the program for them.
● Fosters better social interactions among children and strong relationships between teachers and families.
● Allows children to experience being both the young- est and the oldest in the class as students move on and new students join the group.
● Enhances a sense of family and community within the classroom.
In the schools in Reggio Emilia, infants and toddlers are kept in the same class with the same teachers for three years to provide a family-like environment. Loop- ing is often paired with multi-aged classrooms, which further extends the natural, family-like atmosphere.
Critics of looping cite the need for experienced teach- ers who enjoy teaching across the age levels and who can work with the same children over an extended period of time. Looping does not fit all teachers and all children, and it could be offered as an option for parents and teach- ers to meet the needs of those who believe its advantages are worthwhile.
Any of the following early childhood programs may include mixed-age groups and looping. The educational and philosophical goals of the program determine what features to include.
The Core of Programs of Early Childhood Education The following sections explore the different types of programs available to families. Each has unique charac- teristics, emphases, and challenges.
Traditional Nursery School/Preschool The traditional nursery school/preschool exemplifies a developmental approach to learning in which children actively explore materials and in which activity or learn- ing centers are organized to meet the developing skills and interests of the child. Most of these programs serve children from 2½ to 5 years of age.
The philosophy of these schools is best described by Katherine Read Baker in her now classic book The Nursery School: A Human Relationships Laboratory (1950). First published more than sixty years ago, this book serves as an
encyclopedia of the traditional nursery school, its methods, and its philosophy, reflecting the influence of Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Montessori.
The idea of a school as a place of human activity mir- rors the thoughts of Dewey, Piaget, Erikson, and others. Baker develops this philosophy fully with an educational model that emphasizes the human needs, growth pat- terns, and relationships in a young child’s life.
Developmentally, a traditional nursery school focuses on social competence and emotional well-being. The cur- riculum encourages self-expression through language, creativity, intellectual skill, and physical activity. The ba- sic underlying belief is the importance of interpersonal connections children make with themselves, each other, and adults.
The daily schedule (see Figure 2-2) reflects these beliefs. Large blocks of time are devoted to free play, a time when children are free to initiate their own activi- ties and become deeply involved without interruptions, emphasizing the importance of play. In this way, children learn to make choices, select playmates, and work on their interests and issues at their own rate. A dominant belief is that children learn best in an atmosphere free from excessive restraint and direction.
Typically, there is a balance of activities (indoors and out, free choice, and teacher-directed times) and a wide va- riety of activities (large- and small-muscle games, intellec- tual choices, creative arts, and social play opportunities).
A nursery school is often a half-day program, but many offer extended hours.
The Role of the Teacher The role of the teacher and methods of teaching are important factors in a traditional nursery school. They assume that young children need individual attention and should have personal, warm rela- tionships with important adults. Therefore, the groups of children are generally small, often fewer than 20 in a class.
9:00 Children arrive at school 9:00–9:45 Free play (indoors) 9:45 Cleanup 10:00 Singing time (large group) 10:15–10:30 Toileting/snack tim
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