Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum: Best Practices in Early Childhood Education, 8th edition

Published by Pearson (May 21, 2024) © 2025

  • Marjorie J. Kostelnik University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Anne K. Soderman Michigan State University
  • Alice P. Whiren Michigan State University
  • Michelle L. Rupiper


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For courses in early childhood education.

A how-to guide to creating effective programs for children ages 3 to 8

Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum is an all-in-one guide that brings together everything pre-service teachers need to implement an integrated, developmental approach to curriculum-based instruction. Emphasizing the how, what and why of curriculum development, it offers readers the tools they need to translate theory into age-appropriate practices that accommodate individual, social and cultural differences.

The 8th Edition integrates play and assessment examples into every chapter as well as information from recent NAEYC publications and standards to keep the material up to date.

Hallmark features of this title

  • Guidelines focus on teaching strategies and methods readers can use to conceptualize, plan, implement, and evaluate curriculum.
  • Sample activities and lesson plans for each domain offer concrete examples readers can use in their own classrooms.
  • DAP: Making Goals Fit features show how to implement goals for children of different age ranges or abilities while keeping in mind each child’s individual needs and sociocultural background.
  • Inclusion features demonstrate the actions necessary to successfully include specific students and meet goals.
  • Applying What You've Read end-of-chapter sections feature discussion questions, portfolio-building suggestions, application activities, guidelines for journal entries and more.

New and updated features of this title

  • UPDATED: Chapter content is aligned with Early Childhood Standards for Professional Preparation Programs (NAEYC, 2022) to help students connect standards of professionalism to classroom practice.
  • NEW: Content and constructs described in Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs: Serving Children from Birth through Age 8, 4th edition, published by NAEYC are incorporated throughout.
  • NEW: Assessment examples are now integrated into every chapter. These examples encompass a wide array of assessment strategies, providing more context for students to become familiar with the what, how and why of assessment throughout the curriculum.
  • NEW: Play examples are now integrated into every chapter, highlighting the importance of play in every aspect of the education of young children.
  • UPDATED: Technology Toolkit features offer fresh ideas of how to use new technology to support developmentally appropriate practice.

The LMS-Compatible Assessment Bank streamlines assignments and grading

  • NEW: Learning objective quizzes and application exercises are included in an LMS-compatible packaged file. Application exercises in each chapter use a short-answer format and issue a model response written by experts.

Features of Pearson+ eTextbook for the 8th Edition

  • NEW: Video Examples, including authentic classroom videos and interviews with experts in the field, expand on principles or concepts in each chapter, helping put the reading into context.
  • NEW: Chapter-opening links correlate the chapter contents to the specific National Association for the Education of Young Children standards covered.
  • NEW: You’re the Observer video analysis exercises encourage critical thinking in responding to questions about teaching, development and learning.
  • NEW: Artifacts promote deeper understanding with links to in-depth case studies, research articles, student work, and lesson plans. Associated questions guide students to think and make decisions like a teacher.
  • The Interactive Glossary lets students quickly build their professional vocabulary as they read.

Part 1: Foundations of Early Childhood Education

  1. Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  2. Teaching and Learning in Developmentally Appropriate Programs

Part 2: Setting the Stage for Learning

  1. Planning and Implementing Effective Small-Group Activities
  2. Planning and Implementing Effective Group-Time Activities
  3. Organizing Space and Materials
  4. Child Guidance in Early Childhood Classrooms
  5. Strengthening Developmentally Appropriate Programs Through Family Engagement

Part 3: The Curriculum

  1. The Aesthetic Domain
  2. The Affective Domain
  3. The Cognitive Domain
  4. The Language Domain
  5. The Physical Domain
  6. The Social Domain

Part 4: Integrating Curriculum

  1. Organizing Children’s Learning Over Time


  1. Sample Lesson Plans
  2. Field Trips
  3. The Big, Big Turnip

About our authors

Marjorie J. Kostelnik is emeritus professor in Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. A former Head Start, childcare, and preprimary teacher, as well as elementary school specialist, Dr. Kostelnik remains actively involved in helping early childhood educators explore the implications of developmentally appropriate practices. She has worked with over 100 programs internationally and in the United States. Most recently, Marjorie was co-chair of the statewide Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission. She served on the Dimensions Foundation Board (focused on nature education for young children) and continues to serve on the Educare of Lincoln Board (supporting children and families living in poverty).

Anne K. Soderman is professor emerita from Michigan State University where she taught courses on early childhood curriculum and assessment, receiving the Distinguished Faculty award. Dr. Soderman has consulted with educators in curriculum and assessment nationally and in over 30 international settings. She has coauthored seven books and numerous journal articles on literacy and assessment. For her last assignment, Anne worked with teachers and administrators in Beijing, China, creating an international school that now serves families and children from more than 25 nations, enrolled in nursery through grade 6.

Michelle Rupiper is professor emeritus of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. During her 25 years at UNL she taught many classes related to early childhood education and served as the director of the Ruth Staples Child Development Laboratory. Prior to her time at UNL Michelle served as a classroom teacher for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children and directed community early childhood programs. Michelle now spends much of her time consulting with early childhood programs and school districts in Nebraska as well as national and international programs.

Alice Phipps Whiren is professor emeritus of the Department of Family and Child Ecology, Michigan State University. She taught curriculum in early childhood and child development to undergraduate and graduate students and was supervisor of the Child Development Laboratories. Early in her career, she taught young children in an inner-city public school in Michigan. She also served as a Head Start assistant director and has provided a variety of training sessions for preprimary teachers nationally and internationally.

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