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ERIC Number: EJ1020260
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 36
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
The Influence of Developmentally Appropriate Practice on Children's Cognitive Development: A Qualitative Metasynthesis
Brown, Christopher P.; Lan, Yi-Chin
Teachers College Record, v115 n12 2013
Background: As policymakers and advocates across the United States look to early childhood educators to improve children's cognitive development so they enter elementary school ready to learn, debates have emerged over what types of practices these educators should be engaged in to achieve this goal. Historically, the field of early childhood education has advocated for teachers to employ developmentally appropriate practices to ready young children for school success. Yet, empirically, the quantitative studies that have examined the impact of these practices on children's cognitive development have produced mixed results. Absent from these debates are qualitative research studies exploring this topic. Purpose of Study: To address this issue, this article presents findings from a qualitative metasynthesis that studied whether teachers and/or administrators were engaging in developmentally appropriate practices, and if so, how such practices might influence children's cognitive development. Research Design: This qualitative metasynthesis used a template analysis to code 12 peer-reviewed qualitative studies that were based on original research, took place in the United States, and involved practicing teachers and administrators who worked in early childhood settings (birth through Grade 3). Findings: The findings appear to demonstrate a positive influence of teachers' developmentally appropriate practices on children's cognitive development and a negative influence from practices that contrast with this construct. These findings also reveal the need to continue to refine the conception of these practices as well as additional research that examines the influence of such practices on children's development. Conclusion: It appears that developmentally appropriate practices can positively influence children's cognitive development. Still, it is uncertain as to what these benefits mean in terms of student outcomes, which has become a fundamental issue for publicly funded early education programs. This metasynthesis points to the need for further research that uses a range of measures to examine the influence of developmentally appropriate practices on children rather than teachers. Such work should pay attention to children's cognitive development as well as attend to children's cultural backgrounds. By doing so, it could help inform the fields of early and elementary school education about the impact of developmentally appropriate practices on children's development so that educators across both contexts can provide instructional practices that ready young children for school success.
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A