Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.

Coach's
Column

Susan Roberts

Susan Roberts

January 3, 2022

The December in-person workshop with Amanda Morgan was such a nice way to close out 2021. It was a great time to be with friends and colleagues for the first time in a year and a half!


Amanda presented a powerful workshop on Developmentally Appropriate Practices: Why Our Children Don’t Need Pushing & What They Do Need Instead. There was good conversation about what early educators know about child development and the importance you play in each child’s life. Amanda was able to give facts and research that backed up the importance of play. She stressed the importance of teachers knowing the children they are interacting with and having the knowledge to provide them with meaningful and appropriate activities and interactions. Respectful teacher child interactions are critical.


Respect. That is a word I would have not have thought of when defining the meaning of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). Amanda explained that we need to:

  • Respect that childhood is a valuable and valid time for children to grow and learn so they can reach their full potential. Growing an adult human is a process that takes time, connection with others and much trial and error! Children need to connect with others, hands on experiences with various materials and opportunities to use language in order to learn about their world.

  • We need to respect the larger developmental process. We know that skills are built upon a foundation. Developmental milestones are a guide to building a strong foundation. They are a blueprint we can refer so we can provide playful and meaningful learning opportunities for children to reach towards and practice skills they may have missed. 

  • We need to respect children as individuals. The developmental process is not set to a time schedule or calendar. I loved Amanda’s analogy of a budding tree. Not all buds blossom at the same time. But given the proper nurturing they will all bloom. Likewise, children, given a responsive respectful environment will bloom when they are ready. 

Amanda gave us so much to think about. But you may have been left with some questions. How do I provide my children with developmentally appropriate, play based experiences and still meet the standards set by my center? How can do I explain to my director, co teacher, parents that the children in my care are playing with a purpose and learning as they play? What does a DAP class look like, sound like, feel like and what are the results of playful learning?


Well, I am happy to say that Amanda will be back on February 5th with Teaching with Intention & Powerful Play. Join us as she brings together what we know about developmentally appropriate practices, social emotional learning, and learning standards and milestones, to provide appropriate, lasting and playful learning for our little ones. Registration is open now!


And let’s hope 2022 continues to give us opportunities to come together, learn together and become our best together!


I am wishing you well!


Susan

A teacher sits with three children at a table. The children play with blocks.