Developmentally Appropriate Content Activities for Early Learners

(Grades PreK-2) / Flex Course

PDI Course Number: 120T02 / UCSD Course Number: EDUC40299


Course Description

As long as a classroom activity is designed for a specific grade level, then that must mean it is developmentally appropriate, right? Wrong! Developmentally appropriate activities are designed to be at the correct developmental level of the student, presented in an appropriate way so that s/he has access to the learning. This may or may not “mesh” with his/her grade or age level and applies to a broad spectrum of students including those with learning disabilities as well as students who are gifted and talented. This online course is designed for PreK-2 teachers who are looking to explore how to update their current curriculum to make it more developmentally appropriate for all their young learners. This course begins by defining exactly what developmentally appropriate means. As teachers progress through the course, they will learn about the importance of play. They will learn specific strategies for bringing developmentally appropriate activities into phonological awareness, phonics, and sight word instruction. Teachers will learn about the developmental stages of writing and will be introduced to a variety of activities to supplement their writing instruction. Additional developmentally appropriate strategies and activities are discussed for each of the content areas including mathematics, science, and social studies. By the end of this course, teachers will feel more confident and successful in their quest to implement developmentally appropriate activities into their own teaching practices. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units (50 hours of training) from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"This course is perhaps the best PDI course that I have ever taken. I can use what I learned from the course the very next day that I walk into my classroom." - Robin Frank

Enrollment Options

Course Only

Only $127 with the discount

Course with Credit from UCSD Extension

Only $323 with the discount

This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units or 5 quarter units of graduate-level credit from UC San Diego.

You have up to one year from the date you are enrolled to complete a flex course.



Required Resource Book

This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List



UCSD Course Number: EDUC40299
Unit One
  • An Introduction to Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  • Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  • The Importance of Play
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1
Unit Two
  • Phonological Awareness Instruction
  • Phonics Instruction
  • Sight Word Instruction
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2
Unit Three
  • Stages of Writing
  • Building Fine Motor Skills to Aid Writing
  • Writing Instruction
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3
Unit Four
  • Numeracy/Number Sense Instruction
  • Patterns and Sorting Instruction
  • Measurement and Graphing Instruction
  • Test #4
Unit Five
  • Developing the Scientific Method in Young Learners
  • Developmentally Appropriate Experiments for Young Learners
  • Incorporating Students’ Interest into Science Education
  • Test #5
Unit Six
  • Making Connections to the World
  • Activities Following the Expanding Communities Model
  • Using Literature to Develop Social Studies Topics
  • Assignment #4: Create developmentally appropriate lessons
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)


Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

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