More About Who

More About HOW

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) serves as a foundation of the Before Racism program. Here is how the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines such practice:

“ … methods that promote each child’s optimal development and learning through a strengths-based, play-based approach to joyful, engaged learning. Educators implement developmentally appropriate practice by recognizing the multiple assets all young children bring to the early learning program as unique individuals and as members of families and communities. Building on each child’s strengths—and taking care to not harm any aspect of each child’s physical, cognitive, social, or emotional well-being—educators design and implement learning environments to help all children achieve their full potential across all domains of development and across all content areas. Developmentally appropriate practice recognizes and supports each individual as a valued member of the learning community. As a result, to be developmentally appropriate, practices must be culturally, linguistically, and ability appropriate for each child.”


Here is a summary  of what such practices typically entail in an early childhood educational setting:

  • Pretend play (including play materials such as a house, doctor’s office, fire station, store)
  • Storytelling and story-acting
  • One-on-one and small group conversations
  • Books
  • Artwork (particularly children’s own artwork and photos of themselves and their families)
  • Dolls
  • Blocks and puzzles
  • Music, song and dance
  • Videos
  • Food and smells

In addition, a set of educational principles are suggested to help teachers and childcare professionals shape their learning environments. These principles include the importance of those environments:

  • Being physically and psychologically safe
  • Modeling care, thoughtfulness, and kindness
  • Addressing real-life situations as they occur in the classroom
  • Addressing real-life situations from outside the classroom that the children bring up
  • Being active, inviting, and encouraging of exploration