ERIC Number: EJ1001810
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Gifted Students: What Should It Mean?
McGee, Christy D.
Parenting for High Potential, v2 n2 p26-28, 30 Oct 2012
"Developmentally appropriate practice" (DAP) is a term tossed about by practitioners as if everyone understands exactly what it means. DAP seems self-explanatory in that it requires educators to use only those strategies for teaching and discipline that are appropriate for the age of the child. The basic tenet of DAP rests on the assumed knowledge of child development, appropriate teaching strategies, and engaging activities of those who work with young children. How should DAP affect young gifted children? Although NAEYC discusses the importance of understanding the current critical issues of the shortage of quality care for infant and toddler populations, support of vulnerable groups of children such as those who are immigrants with home languages and cultures different from their peers, and children with special needs including those with disabilities and/or challenging behavior, the needs of young gifted children are not specifically addressed. This omission of young gifted children as a qualifier for inclusion in the category of vulnerable groups may be because the actual implication of DAP means that each child gets what he or she needs. Unfortunately, many early childhood practitioners are unaware of what that might mean for the gifted child. An important factor in the lack of support for gifted children is that practitioners must understand that child development theory is based on the typical--not atypical--child. Most practitioners are quick to realize when a child is not developing at a pace typical for children of the same age group and begin to implement strategies to assist the child in "catching up" to his or her peers. Unfortunately, this same understanding and support of children who exceed the developmental level of peers is not as evident. In these cases of atypical advanced development, the practitioner may not realize that supporting these children's needs is just as important as assisting those who fall below the typical criteria for the age group. The practitioner may not understand that advanced children must be provided with activities that challenge them to continue to grow in the area(s) in which their gifts lie, or they may realize that a child is advanced but do not have the teaching tools or strategies to appropriately meet his or her needs. It is only when parents and practitioners begin to understand that gifted children are atypical and that they need to think outside the box in order to support them appropriately will many of these children find success in school and home settings. (Contains 1 table.)
Descriptors: Academically Gifted, Teaching Methods, Student Needs, Child Development, Young Children, Developmentally Appropriate Practices, Teacher Competencies
National Association for Gifted Children. 1331 H Street NW Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-785-4268; Fax: 202-785-4248; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nagc.org/php.aspx
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: Parents; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A