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What Does Developmentally Appropriate Mean?

Understanding Developmentally Appropriate


When you’re involved in your child’s education, it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase  “developmentally appropriate”  used in conversation. It’s a frequently used phrase and a frequently talked about concept amongst educators. As a parent you may wonder: What does developmentally appropriate mean?

Developmentally appropriate means making curriculum, lesson and other decisions that affect students based on what they are able to do cognitively, physically and emotionally at a certain age. Of course, not all children develop at the same rate, so often there’s a range of abilities that are considered developmentally appropriate for each age.

Developmentally appropriate skills for one child may be very different than that of another child in the same classroom, so educators often make small (or sometimes large) changes to the way they teach concepts to different children.

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