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Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 253–260 | Cite as

Teaching the Standards is Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Strategies for Incorporating the Sociopolitical Dimension of DAP in Early Childhood Teaching

  • Lisa S. GoldsteinEmail author
Article

Abstract

Many early childhood practitioners in the U.S. are experiencing tension between their desire to offer students developmentally appropriate learning experiences and their obligation to teach the academic knowledge and skills mandated by their states. However, careful examination of the DAP guidelines’ definition of culturally appropriate practice reveals a significant sociopolitical dimension that has been obscured by the field’s tight focus on the sociocultural dimension. Because standards-based education is an explicit feature of the sociopolitical landscape of U. S. public education, teaching the standards is developmentally appropriate practice. Implementation of this broadened understanding of DAP adds new complexity to early childhood teachers’ work. This article offers ideas drawn from Bronfenbrenner, Vygotsky, and Dewey as sources of theoretical support and provides examples of strategic decision making—illustrated with examples drawn from Texas kindergartens—that can assist teachers in managing the curricular and instructional complexities that accompany the broadened understanding of DAP.

Keywords

Early childhood education Developmentally appropriate practices Standards Teachers’ decision making 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationSanta Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA
  2. 2.AustinUSA

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