The Preschool Years
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
By Carol Copple and
Sue Bredekamp, Editors
The National Institute for Early
Education Research-NIEER (5 minutes)
• NIEER's five-minute video, "Growing and
Learning in Preschool," shows the essential
features of a high-quality preschool program.
You'll see how a preschool curriculum based on
solid research builds school and life-related
skills, why well-qualified teachers are so
important, and how play is integrated into
An Overview
• 3-5 year olds
• Over half preschoolers – enrolled
• Important period not kindergarten
• Optimal learning
– positive & caring relationships
• Critical – developmentally appropriate
– Share dev. appropriate observations of sites visited?
– Reminder no site names, no children’s names
An Overview
• ALL Preschoolers – strengths & areas to improve
• Poverty
Children vulnerable
4-year-olds, 18 months behind
43% in US low income
3.5 million affected
• Summary-magical thinking years
– playful, imaginative, delightful
– Observations confirming this?
Physical Development
• Preschoolers - extremely physical – moving,
jumping, running
• Goal-quarter school day - physical activity
• Viewed clumsy, spills (body changes)
– Ouch Reports
– Book- (Band-Aid Will Help)
• 3-year-olds/uncoordinated
• 4-year-olds/greater control,
not fluid
Physical Development continued
• Able to perform basic gross motor skills
• Gross motor
– lowered center of gravity-hop, balance
• Fine motor – still developing; handedness by 4
– Paper/pencil activities less useful than hands-on!
– Types of grasp (pincer, fist)
– Short pencils
• Girls-advanced fine & gross
(skipping, hopping)
– Findings surprise or confirm?
Physical Development continue
• Boys –advanced – force & power, running,
• Nutrition-5-6 meals (List)
– energy, less headaches, more focused, enjoy play
• Physical growth varies
– per year/3-4 inches, 5-6 pounds
– Prominent in trunk & legs
Physical Development continue
• Childhood obesity
– Involve pediatricians
– Scope of practice
• Sensation/perception-well developed
– sense of taste compared to adults
Social & Emotional
• Great advances-still struggles.
• Positive social and emotional foundation =
cognitive competence.
Social Development
Social interactions
Relationships/teachers and peers
Are teachers “friends” to the teachers?
Levels of Play:
Cooperative (4-5 years of age)
Teachers give ideas, help with rules of pretend
play, then back away
Prosocial behavior developing
Social Development
Understanding other’s perspectives
Aggression –physical, relational
Sense of self in relation to others
Looking at gender – girls? Boys?
Anticipate consequences of physical actions
Strategies: turn taking, using words, using empathy, selfregulation skills
Who are they?
– Younger-I have two fish
– Older-I’m nice to my friends
Research Study-Supports Play
Free-choice activities, variety of equipment and materials
Findings: better cognitive (and language) abilities
Emotional Development
• Positive and negative impact development
• Express and talk about their emotions
Emotional Development
Development of emotional competence.
Development of conscience.
Stress, coping and resilience
Saying good-bye to parents
– Group activity
– Parent sneaks out
each day
– What might you say
to parent?
Investing in the Emotional and
Behavioral Development of Preschoolers
(6 minutes)
• Young children who can interact well with
teachers and peers are more likely to succeed in
preschool and beyond. This six-minute video,
produced by The MacArthur Foundation, profiles
MDRCs Foundations of Learning Project, a
demonstration in Newark and Chicago that is
testing an innovative program that combines
teacher training with in-class clinical consultation
to support children's emotional and behavioral
development in preschool.
Cognitive development
• Important changes-influence all other domains
• Form representations world - future and past
• Create fanciful scenes
– make-believe
• Piaget “preoperational” stage:
illogical, egocentric
Cognitive development continued
• Brain – cerebral cortex – functions regulate
attention and memory not fully developed –
• Attention – short, distractible, better over time
– Attention improves so does memory
– Practice strategies (recall events)
Cognitive development continued
• Mental representation (internal depictions)
– Mind manipulates images or mental pictures
– Later advances – objects serve both as an object or as a
symbol of something else.
– Age 3-pictures serve as symbols
• Teachers start labeling even scribbles
– “Worms wrestling” or “Me and mommy playing”
• Reminder-holistic view of learning
– When teacher talks to family what developmental domains would be
emphasized using a holistic view?
Promoting cognitive development
• Teachers can help by:
– Cues, modeling, questions (open/closed),
positive guidance, ample play time-choices,
plan/review work
• Teach math and science in preschool
Best math develops language/ vocabulary
Promote math skills
Page 139 – 4 bullets
Different ways to solve problems
Sequencing concept: if wear red, get coat first
Math, social situations; share play dough on table
Question: children riding tricycles get stuck on incline. How do
teachers help connected to allowing children an opportunity to solve
Compare/contrast, more, less, tallest, numbers,
one-to-one correspondence
Science table is a start
Embedded in children’s daily work/play
Builds on prior experiences, backgrounds
Draws on children’s curiosity
Engage children in in-depth exploration of
topic over time
Reflect on experiences, document
Provides access to science experiences
Language and Literacy Development
• Language & communication
• Role oral language in all domains
– Imagine a 4-year-old
limited language abilities
– Early Intervention
• Sustained conversations
– Adult expands thoughts
– Child: A white bear.
– Adult: Yes, there’s a white
mama bear with her baby, her little cub.
Language and Literacy Development
• Predictor-reading success
• Private speech
– Connected to problem solving
• English language learners
– Importance of family’s primary language
– Under age 10 – best time to teach other
• Promote by reading!!!!!
Examples to Consider Chapter 5
•Creating a caring community of learners
•Teaching to enhance development and learning
•Planning curriculum to achieve important goals
•Assessing children’s development and learning
•Establishing reciprocal relationships with families
Maria Montessori
"Never help a child with a task
at which he feels he can

The Kindergarten Year - Modesto Junior College