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Case Studies in Early Childhood Education

Case Studies in Early Childhood Education

Implementing Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Rachel Ozretich, Linda Burt, Susan Doescher, Martha Foster

Jul 2009, Paperback, 144 pages
ISBN13: 9780135026038
ISBN10: 0135026032
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Developmentally appropriate practice is defined by the NAEYC as teachers making decisions about the well-being and education of children based on at least three kinds of information:

  • What is known about child-development and learning
  • What is known about the strengths, interests, and needs of each individual in the group
  • Knowledge of the social and cultural contexts in which children live

Both experienced and pre-service teachers need to follow these guidelines to ensure that they are supplying programs that promote the development and enhance the learning of all the children in their classrooms. In order to help teachers meet this goal of providing high-quality and developmentally appropriate programs for all children and their families, the authors have written a series of cases that exemplify the guidelines of the NAEYC, while at the same time showing students how to put the guidelines into actual practice.

The cases in the book depict a diversity of children in diverse family settings and offer not just challenging situations, but possible solutions to those challenges. Each case is followed by a question (or questions) that promotes critical thinking and stimulates class discussion regarding the decisions the teacher made, the consequences of using specific practices, and the ethical bases for decision-making. The authors also stress the value of an anti-bias curriculum and its importance in creating a caring community of learners and preparing all children for the increasingly diverse world of the future.

Matrix of Cases

Case 1. Caring for Infants (Infants)

Case 2. Mason in Two Different Environments (Infants)

Case 3. Helping Jack be Mobile (Toddlers)

Case 4. Edward and Keon Invent a Game (Toddlers)

Case 5. Audrey Chooses Different Boots (2 years)

Case 6. Nurturing Connections in Rafael’s New World (2 years)

Case 7. The Library Construction Project (2 years, 1st Grade)

Case 8. Observing Stephen’s Aggression (3 years)

Case 9. “I’m Sorry” (3 years)

Case 10. Learning to Climb (3 — 5 years)

Case 11. Natural Settings: “Does It Tickle?” (3 — 5 years)

Case 13. The ABC Train (3-5 years)

Case 12. How a Child-Centered Environment Nurtures Maya: A Child with

Down Syndrome (3-5 years)

Case 14. From Home to Preschool (3-5 years)

Case 15. Problem Solving and the Blocks (3-5 years)

Case 16. Elena’s Fears and How She Learns from New Experiences (3-5 years)

Case 17. Brent and Cory Need Extra Help (3-5 years)

Case 18. Heather Learns Through Play (3-5 years)

Case 19. Emiliana’s First Report of Child Abuse (3-5 years)

Case 20. An Activity Close to Amanda’s Heart (4-5 years)

Case 21. Observation Reveals the Issue (4-5 years)

Case 22. Productive Play with Fairy Dust (Kindergarten)

Case 23. Helping Julian Adjust (Kindergarten)

Case 25. Sharing Akil’s Work Sample (1st- 2nd Grade)

Case 24. Why Won’t Luke Finish His Work? (1st Grade)

Case 26. Why Dante Succeeds in Second Grade (2nd Grade)

Case 27. Involving Children (2nd Grade)

Case 28. Lecia and the Standardized Tests (3rd grade)


Helps students bridge the gap between learning the guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices, and learning how to implement them in the classroom.

Uses case studies to guide students through classroom challenges--Shows how talented and caring teachers address these challenges by modeling developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) and ethical conduct.

  • Each case allows students to “observe” a classroom situation unfold and how the teachers use DAP and/or the Code of Ethical Conduct to address it.
  • Questions help students analyze what happened and link it to specific DAP and Code guidelines.

Includes case studies of children of different ages and from diverse families–Also includes teachers and caregivers working in various settings with different ages groups, from infants/toddlers to early elementary age children.

  • This diversity allows students to become familiar with what appropriate practices look like for many age groups and in various settings.

Provides questions for reflection that follow the case studies--Stimulates class discussion regarding the decisions the teacher made, the consequences of using specific practices, and the ethical bases for decision-making.

  • Students will need to review and apply their own knowledge and think critically in the process of exploring the issues raised by the questions, either in class or as a written assignment.

Gives age group and topics involved in each case in an accompanying matrix -- Enables educators to easily identify specific cases they wish to use.

Includes a large variety of case studies--For educators with students placed in a variety of community settings, each case provides a single article for everyone to discuss and compare with the practices they observe in their settings.

Requires little prior training to read and understand the cases and questions--Students at a variety of levels of education can benefit from the case studies and accompanying questions, including practitioners who are engaged in not-for-credit professional development, and high school students.

Rachel Ozretich has been a teacher, researcher, and policy analyst in early childhood education for 24 years, working for Linn Benton Community College (LBCC), Oregon State University (OSU), and the Oregon Commission on Children and Families. Linda Burt was a researcher and faculty instructor at OSU for many years. Sue Doescher has taught and conducted research in early childhood education for over 30 years and currently teaches at LBCC. Martha Foster teaches practicum classes at LBCC and has taught full-time in LBCC’s child development laboratory for 19 years.