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Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

Welcome back to another season of the Morning Meeting Podcast. I have a BUNCH of new episodes with guests, and I am so excited to share today's first episode with you.

We educators have heard the phrase "Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) often. Today we're talking about how to incorporate this learning style into the classroom. In the latest episode of The Morning Meeting Podcast, I asked my guest Hugo Basurto, a Texas-based DAP Educator, to explain what DAP means to him and the importance of implementing its theories into the classroom. Below is what Hugo had to say.

"I think developmentally appropriate practice requires both meeting children where they are, which means that teachers must get to know them well and enabling them to reach their goals that are both challenging and achievable."

Hugo explains the three critical components of DAP - developmental appropriateness, individuality, and cultural appropriateness. "[I credit my understanding of DAP] to the training I received at Rice University." Hugo's training educated him to create an engaged classroom where students are celebrated for their unique strengths. The student work he displays is as beautiful and diverse as each of his students.

Developmental Appropriateness

The first step is something that we as educators are already familiar with - Childhood Development; we understand how children develop physically, socially, and emotionally. DAP uses this understanding in conjunction with the other two areas, individuality and cultural awareness; it allows us to see children for who they are - not what data says they should be.


Once an educator understands how children learn, they have the opportunity to tailor their lesson plans to that child's individual needs. There are so many opportunities to get to know your students! You can begin building relationships with them before you meet them in person! I introduce myself to my students through my Summer Letters. Also included in my letter is a parent survey. This survey is super simple, and in it, they tell me about their little learners. Want to learn more? Here are 3 Simple Ways To Build Relationships.

Cultural Appropriateness

Last but not least, the most beautiful part of Developmentally Appropriate Practices is that it celebrates the unique cultures and backgrounds and welcomes what that diversity can offer the classroom. In my interview with Hugo, he shared how he brings parts of his upbringing and culture into the school and encourages children to do the same through writing and artwork. His Instagram is a beautiful collage of these activities.

Relationship building is the cornerstone of education. DAP allows educators to individualize learning and put theories into the context that students are familiar with. What are your thoughts on Developmentally Appropriate Practices? Swing by the podcast and share.

For more information on DAP, visit NAEYC.

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