Where Did DAP Originate in Early Education?

How did early educators come up with what’s developmentally appropriate for young children? There were two early education theorists that had some influence on the topic. Let’s dig a little deeper into what that looks like.

Piaget (1978): Believed that children’s cognitive development may differ greatly between infancy and toddlerhood. With cognitive development differing, we as early educators have to be able to provide activities and materials that will help strengthen the cognitive skills of each child.

Piaget came up with stages of development

  • Sensorimotor stage (0–2 years old)
  • Preoperational stage (2–7 years old)
  • Concrete operational stage (7–11 years old)
  • Formal operational stage (11 years old through adulthood)

The theorist Leve Vygotsky came up with the Zone of Proximal Development. This thought process relies on social interactions that keep babies engaged. He states that activities that are outside a child’s zone are either boring (things that the child already knows how to do) or frustrating (things that are too demanding or rigorous for the child’s developmental level).

As early educators it is our responsibility to know the level at which a child is at and then provide opportunities at their level or a little above so that they are challenged.

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