Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and primary-grade children all have different needs and development. Infants seek security and are eager to explore. Toddlers seek to understand their identity and who is in charge. Preschoolers take great interest in feelings and show great gains in language skills. Primary-grade children take great intellectual leaps and seek to make connections. Understanding developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) at every age is important to ensure you are prepared for the challenges and rewards of teaching.
Part 1: ObservationSchedule observations of 2 early childhood age/grade levels according to the following requirements:
- 1 observation must be a minimum of 1 hour long at an early childhood setting that serves children from birth through preschool, such as a Head Start program, a Montessori school, a licensed daycare, or a preschool facility.
- 1 observation must be a minimum of 1 hour long at an early childhood setting that serves children in kindergarten through Grade 3.
Review the charts in the “Research Into Practice” sections in Ch. 5–17 of Early Childhood Development for ideas about what to look for during your observations. Conduct 2 observations using the Classroom Observation Chart. Try the link below if that link doesn’t work.
Part 2: Observation Comparison PaperWrite a 525- to 700-word reflection paper in which you compare the 2 observations completed and:
- Describe each setting and the time of day observed. Include the school name, type of program, age/grade level, what the students were participating in at the time of observation, and the level of student engagement.
- Consider the physical development of students at each observation. How were they the same? How were they different? What DAPs did you observe?
- Consider the cognitive development of students at each observation. How were they the same? How were they different? What DAPs did you observe?
- Consider the emotional and social development of students at each setting. How were they the same? How were they different? What DAPs did you observe?
- Explain how media or technology supported the teacher’s goals or the children’s development. If not observed, what media or technology would you suggest to the teacher and why?
- Explain anything surprising you noticed in either of the observations. What insight did you gain from these observations? How will you apply it to your future role as a teacher?