Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

International Journal of Early Years Education

For a Special Issue on

Re-engaging dialogue about the DAP debate: Implications for teacher education

Abstract deadline
16 June 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 December 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Cristina Gillanders, University of Colorado Denver
[email protected]

Beth Blue Swadener, Arizona State University
[email protected]

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Re-engaging dialogue about the DAP debate: Implications for teacher education

The US-based NAEYC guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) have had important implications for the field of early care and education (ECE), both in the US and internationally. Described as a “grand narrative” in ECE (Grieshaber and Blaise, 2019), DAP guidelines were initially developed in 1986 and aimed to provide a “clear interpretation of effective early childhood practices” (Friedman, 2022, p. XVII). Despite their widespread use, DAP guidelines have been criticized in its multiple editions (e.g., Jipson, 1991; Kessler, 1991; Kessler & Swadener, 1992; Lubeck, 1994; New, 1994). Critics of DAP’s previous editions have highlighted its overreliance on the findings of traditional developmental psychology that situates children in a vacuum with little regard to the contexts in which they live, especially those from minoritized groups; an assumption of universal “best practices” for teaching young children; and a hierarchical relationship between “research knowledge” and knowledge from teachers, parents and community members.

In response to these criticisms and align with more contemporary views in ECE, NAEYC has published a new edition of DAP. This 4th edition purposely avoids the use of the term “best practice”, as NAEYC has recognized that those practices often emerge from dominant views of what “high quality” learning experiences for young children should be. It also recognizes that the term “best practices” ignores the contexts in which children live, learn and develop. Following more contemporary views of developmental science, the new edition expands the notion of context to include “one’s personal cultural context (that is, the complex set of ways of knowing the world that reflect one’s family and other primary caregivers and their traditions and values) and the broader multifaceted and intersecting (for example, social, racial, economic, historical, and political) cultural contexts in which each of us live.” (NAEYC, 2022, xxxi).

From a sociocultural perspective, we aim in this special issue to engage in dialogue on different interpretations of the latest edition of DAP, recognizing the sociocultural and historical contexts that coexist with the institutional and national systems of teacher education and early education at large. Following Vygotsky, we view DAP as a mediating artifact (highly influential, for good or ill) in current ways of thinking in ECE and teacher education. As such, the language used in DAP can regulate social behaviors, reconstruct social environments, and transform forms of inquiry in teacher education. The implications of DAP can be seen not only in the US but globally.

We invite contributors to engage with these questions and others:

How might this most recent revised edition be used to actually promote more ethical and equitable early care and education in the US and globally, through teacher education?

Have changes in the document responded to calls for a reconceptualization?

What are examples of ways these guidelines can be used and critiqued in the US and internationally in teacher education?

How might the revised edition transform forms of inquiry and research in teacher education?

How do teachers and teacher educators interpret and put into practice DAP guidelines and their globalization influence?

What are contemporary critiques?

Submission Instructions

*Submission of 300-word proposals by e-mail to Cristina Gillanders and Beth Blue Swadener at  [email protected] and [email protected] by 16 June 2023

*Response regarding proposals to authors by 18 August, 2023

*First full paper drafts due for review via ScholarOne: 1 December  2023

*Final papers due via ScholarOne at T+F: 1 June, 2024

*Online publication date: 23 August, 2024

*Print copy publication date: 30 August, 2024

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