Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Position Statement
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Each and every child, birth through age 8, has the right to equitable learning opportunities—in centers, family child care homes, or schools—that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas. Children are born eager to learn; they take delight exploring their world and making connections. The degree to which early learning programs support children’s delight and wonder in learning reflects the quality of that setting. Educators who engage in developmentally appropriate practice foster young children’s joyful learning and maximize the opportunities for each and every child to achieve their full potential.
This position statement, one of five foundational documents developed by NAEYC in collaboration with the early childhood profession to advance high-quality early learning for all young children, defines developmentally appropriate and explains principles of child development and learning. To support educators’ use of developmentally appropriate practice, this statement also identifies guidelines for decision making in six key areas of responsibility.
NAEYC also produced a related resource, What Does high-Quality Kindergarten Look Like?