Descriptor Details

  • Principles & Practices of Teaching Young Children
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  • Uploaded: 7/18/2022 10:17:36 PM PDT

Historical contexts and theoretical perspectives of developmentally appropriate practice in early care and education for children birth through age eight. Explores the typical roles and expectations of early childhood educators.  Identifies professional ethics, career pathways, and professional standards. Introduces best practices for developmentally appropriate learning environments, curriculum, and effective pedagogy for young children including how play contributes to children's learning, growth, and development.




  1. Historical and Current Approaches
    1. Theories of development and learning
    2. National and international philosophies of education and care
    3. Types of Programs
      1. Ages served
      2. Governance, licensing, and regulations
      3. Teacher requirements
    4. Developmentally Appropriate Practice
    5. State and national standards for quality and content
  2. Introduction to the Profession of Early Childhood Teaching
    1. Teacher’s Knowledge of
      1. Child development
      2. Teaching strategies
      3. The academic disciplines they will be teaching (e.g., language and literacy, the arts, mathematics, social studies, science, technology and engineering, physical education)
      4. Content standards
      5. Professional and ethical conduct
    2. Teacher’s Personal Qualities
      1. Flexibility
      2. Tolerance
      3. Patience
      4. Critical thinking
      5. Physical ability
      6. Mental health
      7. Self-Reflection
      8. Awareness of personal attitudes and bias
    3. Teacher’s Role
      1. Relationships and interactions with children, families, and others
      2. Planning and evaluating curriculum
      3. Intentional Teaching
      4. Creating supportive environments
      5. Cultural competency
        1. Dual Language Learners
        2. Families
        3. Staff
      6. Communication strategies and purposes
        1. Teacher-child interactions and focused conversations
        2. With families as partners
        3. Positive guidance
        4. Supervision of other adults in the classroom
    4. Professional Growth
      1. Philosophy of teaching
      2. Professional Development
      3. Professional Memberships and Affiliations
      4. Career Pathways
  3. Children’s Development Birth through Eight
    1. Physical
    2. Cognitive
    3. Language
    4. Social
    5. Emotional
    6. Influences on development
      1. Heredity and Environment
      2. Families
      3. Culture
      4. Teachers
      5. Communities
  4. Introduction to Developmentally Appropriate Teaching and Learning Environments
    1. Elements of Early Childhood Environments
      1. Indoor and outdoor design and uses of physical space
      2. Routines
      3. Equipment and materials
      4. Emotional climate
      5. Relationship to curriculum goals
      6. Impacts on behavior
      7. Health, safety, and nutrition
      8. Family involvement spaces
      9. Adjusting for ages, abilities, and interests
      10. Staffing/Zoning
    2. Early Childhood Teaching
      1. Introduction to developmentally appropriate approaches
      2. The ongoing cycle of observation, planning, implementation, and assessment
      3. Effective pedagogy for young children
        1. The importance of relationships
        2. Play-based teaching and learning
          1. Teacher-guided
          2. Child-initiated
        3. Positive guidance and discipline
        4. Typical learning trajectories in different domains of development and their implications for curriculum design
        5. Supports for dual language learners
        6. Modification for individual needs

At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Describe historical and current issues and global approaches for early care and education.
  2. Differentiate between various types of settings in relation to the ages served, regulations, and teacher requirements.
  3. Identify the roles and responsibilities of an early childhood educator for curriculum and teaching, family engagement, ethical practice, and professional interactions with others in the classroom.
  4. Identify and compare the developmental stages and needs of children, birth through age eight.
  5. Describe Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  6. Explain the role and value of play.
  7. Compare and contrast principles of positive guidance and interactions.
  8. Explain how theories of learning and development guide early childhood environment design, curriculum, and teaching strategies.
  9. Explain the ongoing curriculum cycle of observation, planning, implementation, and assessment.
  10. Identify supports for first and dual language learners in developing English language and literacy skills including support for the home language.
  11. Develop an initial personal philosophy of early childhood teaching.

  1. Exams (objective and essay) that demonstrate the students' understanding of developmentally appropriate practice.
  2. Research papers, essays and group projects that demonstrate students’ ability to evaluate a classroom environment, teaching strategy and/or curriculum based on quality standards.
  3. Instructor assessment of participation in classroom discussions, presentation of media examples, and critique of volunteer/community service work.

Beginnings & Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood Education, current edition; Gordon & Browne, Delmar Cengage Learning

Who Am I in the Lives of Children?, current edition; Feeney, Christiansen & Moravcik, Pearson Higher Ed

Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education, current edition, Morrison, Prentice Hall  

California State Preschool Learning Foundations, Available at:

California State Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Program Guidelines, Available at:

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  • child, childhood, development, principles, practices, educati