I too am very interested in the critique of the phrase: Developmentally Appropriate Practice. I can understand that we want to move away from the phrase "Age Appropriate" because humans develop at different rates and in different ways, not necessarily tied to age.
For example, my daughter's 5th grade teacher was very frustrated with her and informed me that "5th graders don't behave like that." A 5th grader with ADHD/Trauma experiences, as we are all aware, may well exhibit executive function skill levels seen more commonly in younger children. However, my daughter was completely (if frustratingly) behaving exactly as a 5th grader with impulsivity challenges would tend to behave. (Developmentally)
I wonder if we are carelessly using the phrase Developmentally Appropriate Practice, not as it was intended: to look at where each child is developmentally and calibrating our expectations and responses to the child's developmental level. Are we falling back into old thought patterns; judging if we think the child is acting in an "age appropriate" way but using the phrase Developmentally Appropriate Practice because we have changed our speech patterns?
Just thought I'd add some more points from the position statement. We have been watching this conversation with interest and many thanks to everyone who has contributed their thoughts and ideas. We do encourage people to look at the recently revised DAP Position Statement itself. I have read the position statement many times and find that every time I consider a new question such as: "is saying age appropriate no longer something to do?" I find new insights and ideas.
Here are some thoughts and excerpts from the position statement that might provide some guidance on this conversation.
About using the term age appropriate:
Principle 4 from the 9 Principles on Child Development and Learning reads:
"Although general progressions of development and learning can be identified, variations due to cultural contexts, experiences, and individual differences must also be considered."
The section further discusses how child development takes place on a continuum and does differ among children of the same age:
"Development and learning also occur at varying rates from child to child and at uneven rates across different areas for each child. Children's demonstrated abilities and skills are often fluid and may vary from day to day based on individual or contextual factors. For example, because children are still developing the ability to direct their attention, a distraction in the environment may result in a child successfully completing a puzzle one day but not the next. In addition, some regression in observed skills is common before new developments are fully achieved.43 For all of these reasons, the notion of "stages" of development has limited utility; a more helpful concept may be to think of waves of development that allow for considerable overlap without rigid boundaries.44 "
We are tending not to use the terms ages and stages or age appropriate because of this. Of course there are still generalities that apply to age groups. These are commonalities, as described in the Core Considerations but these commonalities always need to be considered in relation to individuality and context which are also described in the core considerations.
Saying something is developmentally appropriate:
The section on History and Context describes why NAEYC moved away from the use of the term Best Practice.
Here is an excerpt:
"Unlike previous editions, this revision purposefully does not use the term "best practice." Rather, quality practices informed by evidence, research, and professional judgement are referred to as guidelines for early childhood educators' professional practice and are directly aligned to the Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. This reframing reflects the concern that, especially when applied to specific practices, 'best' has often been used in the United States to reflect the dominant culture's assumptions."
I would emphasize that what is developmentally appropriate really does depend on the specific situation and contexts. What is developmentally appropriate in one setting with one group of children may not be developmentally appropriate in another. Perhaps this is what the person was referring to?Susan FriedmanNAEYC