Developmentally appropriate practice and early learning activities are popular and important discussions among early childhood educators. These professional conversations can become passionate debates about best practices for young children.
Books and magazines; search engines and social media sites provide an array of ideas for a multitude of holidays, themes, or studies. Activities abound for infants and toddlers; preschoolers and kindergarteners; and every other age and grade level.
At first sight, we might think… “aww, that’s cute.” But let’s take a few minutes to pause and take a closer look at the activity, not by looking at the final product but by reflecting on the process the children and teacher took to get there.
- Was the activity child initiated or teacher directed?
- What choices did the child make?
- What skills did the child strengthen or learn?
- What materials were the child able to explore?
- Was the process open-ended?
- Was individual expression encouraged?
- Was the child forced, coerced, or rushed?
Was the final product just cute or was it a quality early learning experience?