I was recently asked if teachers can uphold developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) with a theme based curriculum. I quickly answerd “Of course we can! We do it every day!” So here I am a few days later double checking. On second thought, I’d say, there’s always room for improvement but it can be done. Here are the fundamentals of DAP from NAEYC: Knowing about child development and learning. So learning about the theories and findings of psychologist Jean Piaget, cognitive development theorist Lev Vygotsky, and Erik Erikson, psychosocial theorist, is an important beginning. Knowing what is individually appropriate. Forming strong relationships with children and observing their play is the only way to know what’s individually appropriate in your classroom. Knowing what is culturally important. Again, strong relationships are the answer here. Only the families you work with can tell you what’s culturally important to them.
Now probobly not all of the activities below are DAP, but all of the children, and even the teachers had fun!
Our themes for November are Farm, Healthy Food, Family, Giving Thanks.
Farm animals for sorting and classifying.
“Milking” the cows-
The 3 Little Pigs story goes nicely with ths theme. We tell the strory on the felt board, we watch the old classic on You Tube and we read this version of the story. The children love to act out the story with the masks pictured below.
3 Little Pigs Houses. Mask patterns are FREE at Printables!
Hay Stacks Cookies. Butterscotch chips melted over chow mein noodles.
Large Motor Games
a Gym isn’t required for these games any large open space like your circle time area will do.
In the gym we pretend to be animals running all around. So we show them at first then it becomes a crazy free for all! Chickens and horses are the favorites!
Another fun game is called “Seeping Cows”. The children lie down and pretend to sleep. While they lay there they listen carfully to the little song I sing to find out what farm animal they should be when they wake up. The song goes like this: See the sleeping cows, till it’s nearly noon. Come let us wake them with a merry tune. Oh so still, are they ill? WAKE UP Sleeping Cows! So they wake up making cow sounds. Fun stuff!
Healthy foods in the cornucopia.
We have the parents send in family photos which we scrapbook onto an individual house patterens, one for each child. We hang the houses on a large bulletin board through December. Then we bind them into a book which becomes so popular the kids argue over who gets a turn with the family book! I can’t show you the book here because I won’t put the children’s pictures online.
The first thing we do is talk about the feeling of thankfulness. We relate it to reccieving a gift. We teach the children to say thank you with words and sign.
And for open ended art the children paint with feathers, because you know feathers grow on turkeys!Read More