Member resources - Early Childhood New Zealand

List of teaching strategies early childhood

Teaching Strategies / January 13, 2021

A top priority for early childhood educators is to teach children to read. Using developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) while incorporating foundational concepts into lessons help teachers differentiate instruction, engage students in the learning process, and increase achievement of all children. While students are treated as unique individuals, all practices should be appropriate to the child's age and developmental stage and build on previously taught concepts. The purpose of this article is to explore teachers' experiences as they implement DAP into their literacy instruction. It also examines obstacles they face as they implement their practices.

Early childhood education has become very popular in the last several years and is being highly acknowledged and recognized by educational institutions and important government figures (Pelo, 2008). A significant amount of money has been put into early education lately because of the positive affects the programs are having on students' future success in school (U.S Department of Education and Health and Human Services, 2011). In early childhood classrooms, the focus should be on DAP that incorporates the physical, social, emotional, and cultural development of the whole child with diverse populations in relation to literacy instruction (Eggen & Kauchak, 2007).

Literacy is the core and foundation level of teaching. This allows children to build on basic skills which start in early childhood classrooms. Teachers must effectively plan literacy instruction, reflect on developmental stages of children, the interests of those children, and allow them to engage in the learning and problem solving process (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009). Early childhood professionals that employ a literacy-engaging atmosphere where DAP is used prove to have thriving and successful students (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009). When DAP is employed in classroom environments, lessons are more successful, highly effective, and all students benefit throughout each learning domain in relation to literacy instruction (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009).

Implementing developmentally appropriate practices into classroom literacy instruction means meeting the students at the developmental stage they are currently and enabling them to reach goals that are set for them. DAP reduces learning gaps, increases achievement for all children, and allows students to share and engage in the learning process while they solve their own problems as they learn new information (Compple & Bredekamp, 2009). Developmentally appropriate practices are proven in research to help children succeed.

A teacher that implements DAP into his teaching employs a busy classroom where students are self-engaged, interacting physically with objects and people, mentally processing, and constructing knowledge that builds on previous learning (Beaty, 2009). A DAP classroom has direct-hands-on interaction, is full of materials, activities, and interactions that lead to different kinds of knowledge that young children should acquire during the early years (Beaty 2009). As educators we choose teaching strategies that best fit our students by using our knowledge of children, child development, and learners and how they learn, how to plan curriculum, understanding what the goals are, and learning styles.