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Children are recognized as being unique and individual in terms of their growth and development, learning styles, personalities and family background.  The learning environment should respond to these individual differences.

Children learn best by active exploration with materials, people, and the environment.  They naturally engage in activities building on what they know and generating new understandings.  The early childhood teacher provides learning opportunities, guides children's learning and facilitates children's play to insure optimal learning.

Developmentally appropriate practice refers to two important dimensions:  age appropriateness and individual appropriateness.  The preschool experience for children should reflect an understanding of children through its curriculum, materials, room arrangement, teaching practices, and guidance strategies.

The preschool experience should do the following:

  • Provide for active learning through use of play and interactions with people and the environment.
  • Provide for all areas of child development:  social-emotional, cognitive, and physical.
  • Recognize diversity and children's individual differences.