May 21, 2018

Advance Developmentally Appropriate Practice

The framework and philosophy of developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) when teaching young children is based on available knowledge about learning and development that occurs from birth to age nine.

While early learning professionals base their interactions with children on these principles, other adults who interact with young children may not be familiar with this information. To support better understanding of DAP and increase the quality of early learning environments for young children, the Pittsburgh-area nonprofit Trying Together publicly released its second white paper on the subject.

“This document will be a resource for anyone who wants to have positive interactions with the young children in their lives,” said Cara Ciminillo, Trying Together Executive Director. “Our hope is to encourage and inform all adults about DAP.”

The Trying Together white paper entitled, “Advance Developmentally Appropriate Practice” provides researched recommendations on DAP which include:

  • changing policies for state licensing and training for principals;
  • establishing a professional learning system to connect early educators with teachers in grades K – 3;
  • emphasizing the importance of positive interactions between children and caregivers;
  • creating recess policies;
  • educating and engaging families; and
  • conducting more research that highlights the benefits of play.  

As lead organization for the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, we emphasize the critical need for play at any age, but know it is particularly important for young children,” said Ciminillo. “In Pittsburgh we are fortunate to have many opportunities for play, such as those highlighted in the recent publication from Remake Learning called, “If Kids Built A City.”

The full DAP white paper is available for reading and download at

A one-page guide for families is also available for reading and download at


Children playing in sand bin