Defining DAP using Developmental Theory

Assignment – Defining DAP using Developmental Theory

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Module 01 Content

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At some point in your career, you may find yourself in the position of having to explain to a child’s family member why a certain activity is conducted in your program. For this assignment, you will create a PowerPoint presentation as a tool for helping families understand how DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice) is connected to theory and why this connection is important in planning a curriculum.


To complete this assignment, do the following:

    1. Review the following resources:
    • Rasmussen Writing Guide: PowerPoints Page (for assistance with developing good PowerPoint presentations)
    • NAEYC Position Statement titled Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8

Step 1: PSDAP.pdf (this is attached to the file I posted)


    • Outline of Educational Learning Theories and Theorists


Step 2: OutlineTheoriesTheorists.docx (this is attached to the file I posted)


Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) is an essential component to use when working with young children and their growth and development.


    1. Choose 3 theorists from the chart included on this module’s Theoretical Foundations of Child Development page and/or the other readings from this module.
    2. In a minimum of 10 PowerPoint content slides (not counting the title and reference slides), for each of the 3 theorists you selected in Step 2, relate the theorist’s influences/theory to the 5 DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practice) guidelines outlined in the NAEYC Position Statement mentioned in Step 1. Your presentation should indicate your understanding of how DAP is supported by foundational theories. In keeping with appropriate PowerPoint presentations, include speaker notes for each content slide. Speaker notes should be in the range of 50 to 100 words.
    3. Cite references for all information included in the presentation, using the reading materials from this module and references included on the Outline of Educational Learning Theories and Theorists mentioned in Step 1. You may use other credible sources as well.
    4. Include a title slide and a reference slide (with references in APA format).


For information on credible sources, see the answer to the How Do I Know if a Source Is Credible? question in the Answers database. For help with formatting citations and references in APA format, see the In-Text Citations and References pages of the APA Guide. Bookmark this page so that you can refer to it for future assignments.

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Outline of Educational Learning Theories and Theorists

(Links to References active as of June 2017)

Theorist Theory/
Known For
John Locke





Mostly known as a political theorist, but was deeply involved in educational matters.

Stated play as a necessary and important part of the educational process.

Book Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693)

  • Children must not be hindered from being children or from playing.
  • Learning should not be a burden.
  • Children should have “play-things” of all kinds, and learn how to take care of them.
  • Nothing that can form a child’s mind should be overlooked or neglected.
  • Children should not have anything like work put upon them because their minds nor bodies can handle it.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau


One developmental process, driven by natural curiosity; child is driven to learn and adapt to surroundings Book Emile (1762)

  • Children are born ready to learn from their surroundings, but because of corrupt society, they may not be able to do so.
  • Suggested removing children from society during education.
  • The goal of education was to learn how to live righteously.
  • Discounted book learning and favored learning by experiences.


Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 – 1827) The Pestalozzi Method Book How Gertrude Teaches Her Children (1801)

  • Children should learn through activity and things, rather than words.
  • Children should be free to pursue their own interests, drawing their own conclusions.
  • Emphasis on spontaneity and self-activity.
  • Children should not receive prepared answers, but arrive at the answers themselves.
  • First to recommend educating the “whole child”.
  • Three elements – hand, heart, and head.


Friedrich Froebel

(1782 – 1852)

Father of Kindergarten

“Child’s Garden”


Ivan Pavlov
Classical Conditioning
  • New responses are associated with existing stimulus-response pairs.
  •  A classic example is pairing the ringing of a bell with the presentation of food to dogs. After repeated pairings, the dogs will salivate upon hearing the bell (even if food is not presented). The original stimulus (S) response (R) pair was food — salivate; the new S-R pair is bell — salivate.
  • Further developed by Watson.
John Dewey
Learning Theory

Father of Pragmatism

Maria Montessori
Constructivist Theory
  • Individual development and learning occur through self-realization and self-determination.
  • “Now, what really makes a teacher is love for the human child; for it is love that transforms the social duty of the educator into the higher consciousness of a mission.” (Montessori, Early Childhood Today, 2000, para. 1)
  • First female doctor in Italy, but began education for mentally disabled children.
  • First, education of the senses, then the education of the intellect.
  • Prepare children to learn skills by teaching the movements and actions necessary to perform them.
  • Focused on the environment, materials, and the teacher as observer.
John Watson
  • For most children, learning and behavior are controlled by experience (not genetically pre-determined).
  • Watson believed the only behaviors that should be studied are the “observable” ones.
  • Individual differences in behavior were based on different experiences in learning.
  • “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors” (Watson, 1924, p. 104, as cited at
Jean Piaget
Cognitive Development
(Genetic Epistemology)


Includes four developmental stages:


  • 0-2 years: “sensorimotor” – motor development
  • 3-7 years: “preoperation” – intuitive
  • 8-11 years: “concrete operational” – logical, but non-abstract
  • 12-15 years: “formal operations” – abstract thinking
Lev Vygotsky
Social Development Theory and ZPD

(Also called the Cultural-Historical Theory)

  • In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behavior; in play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself.” (Vygotsky, Early Childhood Today, 2000, para. 1)
  • For children, interaction with others is essential for cognitive development.
  • Vygotsky coined the idea of a “Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).” These are skills that children need help with. This is where we get the idea of scaffolding learning.
  • There are other skills that children can perform on their own.
  • Child development is the result of interactions between children and their social environment – not just peers, but the objects encountered in their experiences.
  • Children are active partners in the interactions, using them to construct knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  • “A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become the basic level of real action” (Early Childhood Today, 2000, para. 6).
Erik Erikson
Psychosocial Theory of Development
  • Erikson’s “Eight Stages of Man” shares with us a sequence of conflicts children pass through at different ages. Heavily influenced by the work of Freud.
  • For Early Childhood Education, the stages include: Trust vs. Mistrust (Hope – 0 to 1.5 years); Autonomy vs. Shame (Will -1.5 to 3 years); Initiative vs. Guilt (Purpose – 3 to 5 years); and Industry vs. Inferiority (Competency – 5 to 12 years).
  • Successful completion of each stage leads to healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues and/or characteristics.
  • Failure to complete a given stage results in reduced ability to move to further stages, creating an unhealthy personality and sense of self.
  • There are opportunities to resolve uncompleted stages.
Carl Rogers
Experiential Learning
  • There are two types of knowledge: academic and experiential.
  • Experiential knowledge is acquired to meet the desires of the child, usually to complete a real-life task. Example: Learning to ride a bike.
  • Based on Maslow’s work, however added that in order for a person to grow, an environment that provides them with openness and self-disclosure, acceptance (unconditional positive regard – see Gartrell), and empathy is needed.


B. F. Skinner
Operant Conditioning


Hierarchy of Needs
  • Humans are prone to meeting their needs.
  • There are five levels of needs. The first is the lowest (physical comfort), followed by safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. Lower-level needs must be met before a child can move on to satisfy higher-level needs.


Jerome Seymour
(1915- )
Constructivist Theory
  • Children actively build knowledge by comparing new ideas or concepts with what they already know (schema or mental models).
  • These schema include action-based (0 to 1 years of age), image-based (1 to 6 years), and language-based (7 years and up).


Ecological Systems Theory Children live within a system of influences at many levels that are interrelated:


  • Microsystem
  • Mesosystem
  • Ecosystem
  • Macrosystem


Bronfenbrenner was one of the founders of the Head Start system in 1965. His basic belief was that children needed interactions with both their parents and a supportive society in order to develop into successful adults.



Albert Bandura
(1925- )
Social (Observational) Learning Theory
  • Children learn behavior from the environment by watching others.
  • Conducted the famous “Bobo Doll” study in 1965
  • Believed children are more likely to reproduce behaviors that society deems appropriate for their gender – more likely to imitate behavior modeled by people of the same gender.
  • The people in the child’s environment will respond to children’s behavior in either one of two ways: reinforcement or punishment.


Lawrence Kohlberg
Stages of Moral Development There are six stages of development that include:


  • Obedience and Punishment
  • Individualism and Exchange
  • Good Interpersonal Relationships
  • Maintaining the Social Order
  • Social Contract and Individual Rights
  • Universal Principles


Based on Piaget’s work with storytelling techniques to solve moral dilemmas.



Howard Gardner
(1943- )
Multiple Intelligences
  • Each child has seven measurable forms of intelligence.
  • These include linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.




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