Category Archives: DAP

Keep Paddling

We went to the beach in San Clemente, California, on New Year’s Eve to watch the sunset. Even though it was cooler than normal, it was still a beautiful site. As we were watching the sunset, there was a lone paddleboard rider floating on the waves. I was impressed by his sense of balance that helped him navigate the waves and that he was out there even when it was quite chilly. He quietly floated on the water and made it to shore as the sun sank below the horizon.
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Later, I was thinking about that lone boarder out in the ocean as I was trying to shore up a shaky student teacher who was tempted to use premade materials in her classroom, as her site teacher instructed. Even though she knew that it would be better to have the children create their own projects, she wanted to please her cooperating teacher and not cause unnecessary waves. She was looking for that delicate balance to keep from tipping over into the abyss. I showed her the picture of the paddleboard rider and compared it to the fact that there would be times when she would feel alone in her delicate balance, like the rider. I challenged her to keep her head in the game and do what she knew was right, and she would stay afloat on her board and safely make it to shore. I know this because there have been many times when I have felt like I was the only one who insisted on appropriate practices with young children. As I persevered with good practices, I felt great when I knew the children in my care had been supported in an appropriate manner. Because I haven’t given in to peer pressure to cut corners, I still feel like I am keeping my balance as I am heading to shore and will get there safely by sunset.

Balancing Act

Being a classroom teacher is often a balancing act. Teachers are often bombarded with the latest curriculum or teaching strategy that will solve all of their problems. In my effort to create a developmentally appropriate (DAP) classroom, I evaluated Creative Curriculum, Reggio Amelia, HighScope, ECRS & ITRS, and RTI to name a few. As I have looked at all of these approaches, it is evident that there are enriching portions in each strategy. It can be confusing for an early childhood teacher to decide which is best. Although I believe the HighScope approach may be the most ‘child-friendly’, there are still strong facets in the other programs. As a classroom teacher, I always tried to use the best of everything I had available for teaching the children in my care. Research tells us that even the best teaching strategies don’t work with every child. Because of this we should look for all of the positive content that we can find and add it to our treasure chest of knowledge. Like a balancing act, the trick is to stay on the beam. Even when our programs choose a set curriculum we should enrich it with materials and good ideas from all credible sources.