Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Lynn Gehrke

Second Reader

Cecelia Westby


early childhood education, child development, teacher training, developmentally appropriate practices


Developmentally appropriate practices are guidelines for "best practices" in the field of early childhood education. Developmentally appropriate practices are based on the idea that children learn by actively constructing their knowledge through interacting with materials, peers, and adults. Using this approach, it is the teachers who make decisions about the well being and education of children by creating developmentally appropriate programs that are child-initiated, child sensitive, and concentrate on the development of the whole child - social, emotional, intellectual, and physical. In order to have a developmentally appropriate program there must be a link between teachers' beliefs and practices. Educational experience, particularly training, helps to create this link. Ultimately, when teachers' implementation of DAP is enhanced, children's development is positively effected.

This project includes a training manual for directors and teachers. The manual is to be used to support teachers in developing and implementing developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood classrooms. The manual focuses on the teachers' role in creating a developmentally appropriate curriculum, environment, and partnering with parents. Specifically, the manual addresses five interrelated dimensions of early childhood practice that teachers need to be aware of in executing OAP: Creating a caring community of learners, Teaching to enhance development and learning, Constructing appropriate curriculum, Assessing children's learning and development, and Establishing reciprocal relationships with families. The manual includes a self-study format in which teachers engage in the process of self-observation, peer observation, reflection, and action.


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