College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Statement of Support for Developmentally Appropriate Practice

L to R: Kathleen Thomas, Ann Bailey, Sheila Williams Ridge


As leaders in the Institute of Child Development (ICD), we unequivocally affirm our support for the principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). This foundational text published by the non-profit, non-partisan organization National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is based on decades of developmental science research and is a critical component of ICD’s early childhood education programs. We stand with early childhood leaders across the country who have faced expulsion or scrutiny due to the use of the fourth edition of this text.

ICD’s conceptual framework for early childhood teacher education states, “Our academic programs are rooted in the science of child development, which tells us that high-quality early childhood education occurs in the context of positive relationships among teachers, children, and their families. We are committed to training educators who build strong relationships, embrace diversity, value full inclusion, and work to eliminate structural inequities that limit children’s educational opportunities.”

We know that all children need to have their identities affirmed and deserve to have their needs met. It is critical that early childhood educators be rooted in these principles and commit to improving the lives of all children and their families, particularly those who have been harmed by inequitable systems and systemic racism.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
King, M. L., Jr. (2018). Letter from Birmingham Jail. Penguin Classics.

Kathleen Thomas, PhD
Director, Institute of Child Development

Ann Bailey, PhD
Director, Center for Early Education and Development

Sheila Williams Ridge, MA
Director, Child Development Laboratory School