• benchmarks: the standards by which something can be judged. Benchmark behaviors are those behaviors that are typical, and against which most behaviors can be measured
  • developmentally appropriate practices: teaching and learning experiences grounded in the way in which we know that children learn, based on understanding the characteristics of a “typically-developing” child
  • executive function: all the cognitive processes that help a child behave and think in an organized way
  • self-regulated learners: children who have learned to manage strong emotions, control impulses, and stay on task with minimum distraction
  • social competencies: skills needed for successful social interaction; in young children these include making simple decisions, interacting with others in productive ways, and being able to resolve conflicts in appropriate ways (by using their words and negotiating and not being aggressive)

Try It

It’s time to practice what you’ve learned. In this activity, you’ll apply the strategies and techniques you’ve learned to your program’s learning environment. 

What is DAP Anyway?

Take a closer look at developmentally appropriate practice. Download and print What is DAP Anyway? (PDF).

  • What does developmentally appropriate practice mean to you?
  • Which of these items would you see in a developmentally appropriate learning environment?

1. Sensory Table Center
Yes  No

2. Listening station with earphones
Yes  No

3. Bean bag chairs in a reading corner
Yes  No

4. Coloring worksheets
Yes  No

5. Display of leaves/pinecones/berries
Yes  No

6. Commercially-made decorative “art”
Yes  No

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