Methods and Strategies: Normalization and Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Normalization and Developmentally Appropriate Practice involves the use of instructional strategies which approximate those used with same-age typical peers. These strategies reflect developmentally appropriate practices by providing opportunities for children to choose from a variety of activities and materials, facilitating children’s engagement, and extending children’s learning by asking questions or making suggestions. Structuring and arranging the physical, social, and temporal dimensions of the classroom environment are also used.

Developmentally appropriate practice is:

• A philosophy for teaching young children
• A set of principles, not a methodology
• An approach that takes into account those aspects of teaching and learning that change with the age and experience of the learner.


The dimensions of developmentally appropriate practice include:

• Age appropriateness (reflects what we know about how children develop and learn)
• Individual appropriateness (takes into account each child’s own development,
interests, learning styles, and cultural background)
• Emphasis on child-initiated activities in the context of relevant experiences
• Active engagement and participation
• Emphasis on social interactions
• Teacher’s responsiveness to children’s behavior.

Brought to you by the generous support of...