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In Support of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)


In Support of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP): Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) Statement May 2023


In light of the Alabama ban on the fourth edition of the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) position statement and book, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children takes this opportunity to convey support for our partners at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This most recent edition of the DAP reflects our field’s efforts to confront early childhood professional bias and to affirm the diversity of children and families we serve. This set of DAP is grounded in research that showcases the importance of understanding the social, cultural, and historical contexts of development.


At DEC, we will continue to confront the racism and ableism that has been long standing within our field and prioritize the belonging and affirmation of each and every young child with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who serve them. Recently, we released our stance on Banned Books and Words. We hold that banning books promoting the equity and diversity of our community, as well as censorship of words, limits professionals' ability to effectively support children and their families. The unprecedented ban and subsequent removal of the DAP from programs in Alabama is the most recent example of an attempt to diminish our field and further marginalize children, families, and providers most likely to experience injustice. The forced resignation of Dr. Barbara Cooper, a proven early childhood leader, adds to the feelings of disrespect already experienced by the professionals in the field. Furthermore, the ban of the DAP is an affront to DEC’s core values and to the research and professional wisdom of our field. The most recent edition of the DAP reflects our field's growth and showcases a commitment to equity that has evolved over generations as inclusion and understanding of our communities' rich diversity have been strengthened.


We stand in solidarity with NAEYC and highly endorse the current version of DAP. We encourage you to stand with us to ensure that each and every young child, family, and professional feels seen and that we promote belonging within our community. A first step would be to sign on in support of the DAP in Early Childhood Education. The time for unity and advocacy is now. We recognize our privilege to advocate for those we serve and plan to continue to advocate for improved equity and inclusion for young children with disabilities and their families. The challenges facing all of us are not only challenges to NAEYC or the DAP. They are challenges to each of us who do this work. They are challenges to the use of evidence based practices and to our ability to support, educate, and care for each and every child we serve and their families.


Together,


DEC Executive Board


Division for Early Childhood Resources







References


Bricker, D., Bohjanen, S. L., Ryan, S., Squires, J., & Xie, H. (2020). EI/ECSE: A

history of early intervention/early childhood special education in the United

States. Division for Early Childhood.


Bohjanen, S. L. & Xie, H. (2020). Gaining Legitimacy, the 1980s. In Bricker, D.,

Bohjanen, S. L., Ryan, S., Squires, J., & Xie, H. (Eds.) EI/ECSE: A history

of early intervention/early childhood special education in the United States

(pp. 85-125). Division for Early Childhood.


Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children. (2023, April 7).

Banned Books and Words: Impact on Inclusion for Young Children with

Disabilities (0-8), their Families, and the Professionals who Serve the Early

Childhood, Early Intervention, and Early Childhood Special Education Field.

DEC. Retrieved May 2, 2023, from https://www.dec-sped.org/single-post/

banned-books-and-words-impact-on-inclusion-statement-from-division-

for-early-childhood


Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center. (2023). Fact sheet: Advancing early

childhood equity in early intervention and preschool special education.

https://ectacenter.org/topics/racialequity/factsheet-racialequity-2023.asp


National Association for the Education of Young Children (2019). Advancing Equity

in Early Childhood Education. In Alanis, I. Iruka, I. U., & Friedman, S. (Eds.),

Advancing Equity & Embracing Diversity in Early Childhood Education.

National Association for the Education of Young Children.


National Association for the Education of Young Children (2023). Developmentally

Appropriate Practice: An Introduction. In Alanís, I., Sturdivant, T., & Friedman,

S. (Eds.), Focus on Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Equitable & Joyful

Learning in Preschool (pp. ix – 2). National Association for the Education of

Young Children.


Schwartz., S. (2023, March 23). Map: Where Critical Race Theory is under attack.

Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/policy-politics/map-where-critical-

race-theory-is-under-attack/2021/06


DEC Statement in Support of Developmentally Appropriate Practice - May 2023
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