Lev Vygotsky and DAP

Class #8

Lev Vygotsky

“In play, a child is always above
his average age, above his daily
behavior; in play, it is as though
he were a head taller than

– Lev Vygotsky

Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)

• Russian Psychologist

• Died of TB at the age of 37

• Research wasn’t published in the US until long after his death

• Huge proponent of mixed age environments

• Scaffolding

• Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

• Believed children learn new information through play

Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development

• Individuals are able to learn new skills as a result of scaffolding (or support)
from a More Knowledgeable Other (MKO)

• The learner moves up in their ZPD as a result of the scaffolding

• The learner learns new skills, improves socialization, and gains new

• The MKO has the potential to move up in their own ZPD

Vygotsky’s Thoughts on Language

• Social Speech

• Begins when a child starts speaking

• Used for talking to others

• Private Speech

• Begins around age three

• Speaking to oneself

• Inner Speech

• Begins around age seven

• Silent, internal thoughts and ideas

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

• Grew out of “Open Classroom” which is a style of classroom environment

• Published in 1987 by the National Association for the Education of Young
Children (NAEYC)

• Updated in 1997

• Updated again in 2008

• Serves as a “base layer” for child development curricula

• Just like Anti-Bias Curriculum, other curricula can be built on top of DAP

Let’s look at DAP in a different way…

• Developmentally

• Age

• Individual

• Culture ( added in 1997)

• Appropriate

• “it fits”

• Practice

• Everything you do


• DAP means:

•Everything you do fits the age,
individual, and cultural
differences of the children in
your program.

Age Appropriate

• Think about what you have learned (perhaps in CDEV 53) about Ages and
Stages of Development…

• Think about Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development…

• Piaget tells us that cognitive development is:

• sequential

• predictable

• This information gives us an idea of what skills children are capable of at different

• For example, we know that babies put items in their mouths to learn more about them.
This knowledge will remind us that it is not AGE appropriate to have marbles in an
infant/toddler program.

Individually Appropriate

• Although you have a sense of what is age appropriate, you also know that not
all children move through developmental milestones at the same speed.

• Look at each INDIVIDUAL child

• What skills does this child have?

• What interaction style is most effective for this child?

• Does this child need a little more “get ready” time than the rest of the class before
we shift activities?

Culturally Appropriate

• When NAEYC published Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood
Programs Serving Childre

Jean Piaget
Class #7

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
 Swiss Psychologist

 Published his first research study at
age 11!

 Although he studied children, and
wrote about them, he never
developed a program

 Original research on children was
seen as flawed

 Small sample size – only three children

 They were his children!

 Piaget’s experiments have been
replicated over and over – the results
are consistent (either he was
incredibly smart, or incredibly lucky!)

Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development

birth-2 years

2-7 years

7-11 years

11 years 

Sensorimotor (0-2 years)
 Absorbing information through the senses

 Becoming mobile

 Object permanence emerges – usually in the 7-9 month range

 Object permanence means being able to form a mental image of something (or someone)
even when that thing isn’t present

 Before a child has object permanence, he will not notice when a particular toy is out of his
space, as he cannot form a mental image of it if he cannot see it. This is a great example
of the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”.

 Once a child has developed object permanence he might notice when something is
missing. For example, if his favorite toy isn’t in his space, he might go looking for it
(assuming he has some mobility). If mom leaves the room, the child might get upset
about her not being there.

 When the child is upset by the departure of his “person”, this is called separation anxiety

 Not all children develop separation anxiety

Preoperational (2-7 years)
 Language abilities are exploding!

 Child is very egocentric – has a hard time seeing or recognizing others’ point of

 Child lacks conservation

 Conservation is the ability to understand that something (volume/mass, number,
weight, etc.) remains the same even if the appearance changes

 There are videos on Canvas to demonstrate this concept

 Fun fact: if you ask a 4 year old to “summarize” their favorite movie, it will take
nearly as long as the actual movie for them to give you the summary!

Piaget used a number of tasks, including the ones shown here, to test children’s
ability to judge whether certain characteristics of an object, such as its mass, change
when the appearance of the object is changed through a simple transformation.

Piaget had an interesting way of studying egocentric thinking in young children using the three
mountain task. The young child is shown a model display of three mountains on a table. A doll sits on
the opposite side of the display, as shown in this figure. The child is then shown a series of drawings
and is asked to choose the one that shows what she is looking at. Most children have difficulty doing
this. The child is then asked to choose the drawing that illustrates what the doll is looking at. Many
children will choose the drawing that they themselves are looking at, which illustrates how yo

Programs and Play

Class #9

Early Childhood

Comparing Program Types

Focus Groupings Teacher’s Role

Direct Instruction Teacher By ability
Presents learning


High/Scope Child By age
Works to expand


Montessori Child Mixed ages Prepares environment

Waldorf Child Mixed ages
Provides literacy-rich


Reggio Emilia Child and Family Mixed ages
Follows children’s


Direct Instruction

• Designed for “at-risk” preschoolers

• At-risk is a label for children who are more likely to fail in school due to factors such as: lack of family
resources, living in poverty, single parent home, low level of parental education, etc.

• Academic

• Preschool children are instructed in subjects such as reading and math, as opposed to learning early
literacy and math skills through play

• Children receive instruction from the teacher

• The teacher sets the curriculum and carries out the instruction based upon a predetermined

• Does this sound like any type of education you’ve experienced?

• If you’re thinking this sounds like your elementary, middle, or high school experience, that’s because
most formal education is a Direct Instruction style. However, here we’re talking about preschool.


• Packaged Curriculum

• “Preschool in a Box”

• Useful for new programs and teachers

• Programs purchase the HighScope Curriculum

• Provides everything a program needs – lesson plans, activities, discussion
topics, and teacher support


• Focus on natural materials

• Families must be on board with the philosophy

• Reading instruction begins no earlier than age 7

• No technology before high school

• No media influences (t-shirts, lunchboxes, etc.)

• Most Waldorf families don’t have TVs in their homes

Could you manage without a TV, computer, or smartphone?

Reggio Emilia

• Only available in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Otherwise it is “Reggio inspired”

• Families and the community are highly involved

• Teachers follow the children’s lead

• All aspects of the curriculum are incorporated in long-term projects

• Teachers document everything – documentation panels show children’s work

• Is sometimes referred to as “emergent curriculum” or “project-based

Cooperative (Co-op) Preschools

• Many SF Co-ops were once part of CCSF

• Families are highly involved

• Can follow any type of curriculum, though most are play-based, social-
development programs

• Parents work in the classroom as teachers

• Parents perform all school jobs

• Tuition is often considerably less than typical preschools

Head Start
• Started in 1964 as part of the President’s Great Society / War on Poverty

• Federally funded / income eligible (because it is federally funded, the income guidelines
are the same across all states – details on next slide)

• Five components

• Program

• Parent Involvement

• Nutrition

• Health

• Parent Education

If you’re thinking Head St

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