First Day and DAP
Today !! We survived but we did so much more ! We made new friends .
We played with materials freely that maybe we had not played with before.
We started building family by working together to problem solve .
This is a younger group and we had a lot of explorers today . Many of our new littles just walked around looking and touching things in our classroom and outside. That is exactly what we would expect ! Everything is new to them. As they become more familiar with our setting they will explore deeper.
At drop off we had eight that struggled but recovered quickly. By the end of breakfast everyone was ok and ready to start play. I saw LOTS of yawns today and I am sure they are worn out. Maybe an earlier bedtime will help them feel more successful at managing their emotions . I know when I am tired I am more apt to be weepy as well. We want to give them every advantage to have a wonderful day. This evening you will want to capitalize on the things they say they enjoyed and how much fun they will have tomorrow trying the activity again.
We rarely do product art but I did do the traditional first day hand print for the moms.
You will hear me use the term DAP or developmentally appropriate practice often. What exactly is DAP ? Research and experience tell is that to be effective with young children practices need to be ” developmentally appropriate .” What this means is simply is that educators need to think first about what each child is like and then create an environment and experiences in tune with children’s characteristics.
From the National Association of Education of Young Children ” Developmentally appropriate practice is an approach to teaching grounded in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about effective early education. Its framework is designed to promote young children’s optimal learning and development.
DAP involves teachers meeting young children where they are (by stage of development), both as individuals and as part of a group; and helping each child meet challenging and achievable learning goals.”
Early childhood , after all, is a time of life quite different from any other. Children 3-6 learn far better thought direct interactive experiences than through just listening to someone talk. They learn extraordinary amounts through play and exploration . The younger the child is the more what they learn need to be relevant and interesting on the day they learn it. ( Ex. We don’t teach a concept about summer while we are playing in snow. It isn’t best practice to spend a week teaching about an ocean to a child that has never seen one while a child in Arkansas can relate to a lake or a creek. )
Based on the knowledge of how children learn we design our program to fit them !
From NAEYC :
“Knowing what is typical at each age and stage of early development is crucial. This knowledge, based on research, helps us decide which experiences are best for children’s learning and development.
What we learn about specific children helps us teach and care for each child as an individual. By continually observing children’s play and interaction with the physical environment and others, we learn about each child’s interests, abilities, and developmental progress.
We must make an effort to get to know the children’s families and learn about the values, expectations, and factors that shape their lives at home and in their communities. This background information helps us provide meaningful, relevant, and respectful learning experiences for each child and family. ”
So, I would say today we met goal ! We loved. We explored and learned new things. We all went home with a smile and our teachers followed developmentally appropriate practice to help us not only survive but thrive through our first day.