Skip Navigation

Developmentally Appropriate Teaching in Early Childhood Programs


The primary goal of the language and literacy program is to expand a child's ability to communicate through speaking, reading, and writing. Technical skills or subskills are taught as needed to accomplish the larger goals - not as the goal itself. Teachers provide generous amounts of time and a variety of interesting activities through which children develop language, writing, spelling, and reading ability.

  Appropriate Reading Practices

Each day, some children may read aloud to the teacher, another child, or a small group of children, while other children may do so weekly. Subskills such as learning letters, phonics, and word recognition are taught as needed to individual children and small groups through enjoyable games and activities.

Teachers use the teacher's edition of the basal reader series as a guide to plan projects and hands-on activities relevant to what is read and to structure learning situations. Teachers accept children's invented spelling with minimal reliance on teacherprescribed spelling lists. Teachers also teach literacy as the need arises when working on science, social studies, and other content areas.

  Inappropriate Reading Practices


The goal of the math program is to enable children to use math through exploration, discovery, and meaningful problems.

  Appropriate Math Practices

  Inappropriate Math Practices

Social Studies

The classroom should be treated as a laboratory of social relations where children can learn the rules of social living and explore cultures and values. In a positive, integrated learning environment, children can gain respect for individual differences and choices.

  Appropriate Social Studies Practices

  Inappropriate Social Studies Practices


Discovery science is a major part of the curriculum. It builds on a child’s natural interest in the world where they can learn many science facts related to their own experience.

  Appropriate Science Practices

  Inappropriate Science Practices

Fine Arts and Healthy Lifestyles

Art, music, woodworking, drama, and dance (as well as opportunities for other physical activity) are integrated throughout each day as relevant to the curriculum and as needed for children to express their ideas and feelings both artistically and physically.

  Appropriate Fine Arts and Healthy Lifestyles Practices

  Inappropriate Fine Arts and Healthy Lifestyles Practices

© 2003, Elementary CORE Academy, Utah State Board of Education, Utah State University. Artwork created by Nancy Bittner