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A lot of teaching approaches nowadays underline the significance of individuality for learning process and development. For the teacher to be able to build the correct and rewarding learning plan and strategy of teaching it is necessary to consider individual features of character of each child, his family background and past experiences, because these are the key factors, which determine the learning style and abilities of the child. Information about social context of the learner might be added there, because the atmosphere, people, traditions of the society, where the child is growing up and is situated most of his time, have sufficient impact on formation of his character, habits, psychics. Knowing all this information along with teaching strategies for specific children, teachers would be able to adapt their teaching methods perfectly for concrete group of children as well as every child individually. The main skill, all children are to require with the support of the teachers – is ability of decision making. Thus in the environment, created by the teacher, a child should be able, relying on his past knowledge and experience, to take the decision and to expand his knowledge. In case if the teacher obtained the information about the past experiences of his learners and worked out the approximate outcomes of the concrete learning activity, then he has all the chances to ensure learning and development of his pupils.
We have studied the key principles of the developmentally appropriate practices, which are important for any age of learners. Further we are going to discuss the particular examples of application of DAP for toddlers as separate age group. As it was already mentioned above, that adults are responsible for creating the comfortable environment for children and their learning activities. For toddlers indoor space plays rather important role. Children of this age need enough place for playing, mostly they do it on the floor and thus temperature in the room should be thoroughly controlled. Furnishing should be safe and comfortable for children. All pieces of furniture, related to eating, sleeping, dressing should be appropriate for the child, only in this case problems with these daily routines would be emitted and children would feel encouraged to learn how to do all these activities themselves. Shelves, baskets with children things should be easy to reach in order to support the self-help skills and ability to make independent choices.
Teachers or parents should create a separate area, where children can relax and become quiet after active plays, before daydream for example. There should be enough place for playing and free movements of children, however important is that all children should be seen and have no possibility to hide behind any furniture or other obstacles.
For development of perception of colors and stimulation for further learning, adults should use bright pictures, mobiles and photos of the family members.
A lot of attention should be paid to greeting and departing procedure. Both processes should be pleasant to children and with the help of adults they should learn the rituals, related to them.
Overall, we have studied the notion of developmentally appropriate practices, their aims and main standing points; we have discussed some common examples of application of DAP for concrete age group of children – toddlers. In reality there are numerous activities and games for children of this age, important is bearing in mind the main points of DAP, such as considering individuality, social context, family background and certainly in combination with love towards children.
Bredekamp, V.S. “Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs”. Washington, DC: NAEYC, 1997
Gestwicki, C. Developmentally Appropriated Practice. Delmar Thomson Learning, 2006