Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



This project was a qualitative case study that recorded and analyzed the professional development of one certified elementary teacher as she studied developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) and pursued her Pre-K and Kindergarten add-on certification. It focused on the changes in her classroom practice from mostly developmentally inappropriate practice (DIP) at the beginning of the project towards mostly DAP at the end of the project. The project recorded her acquisition of concrete knowledge about DAP, and her beliefs regarding DAP as she taught young children over the course of one year, June 2003 through May 2004. It included study of the supports and barriers to the teacher’s growth in her use of DAP that she encountered along the way. It also included observations about the researcher’s own practices as a mentor and source of support for DAP in early childhood teachers, and the changes in those roles that occurred over the course of the project. This study found that the teacher made substantial progress along the DIP to DAP continuum during the project, particularly in her practice with preschool children. The study further showed that the various supports for DAP that served her during the year of the project were sufficient to allow her to overcome most of the barriers to DAP with which she struggled. It also revealed an area of developmentally appropriate practice, with kindergarten children, in which she has an opportunity for ongoing growth. This study also looked at the role that a researcher-mentor may play in supporting and encouraging growth in an early childhood teacher, from developmentally inappropriate practice towards developmentally appropriate practice. It revealed that strategies that have been shown to be appropriate with young children in early childhood education can be similarly effective when applied to supporting teachers in DAP.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Diane C. Burts



Included in

Human Ecology Commons