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Developmentally Appropriate Content Activities for Early Learners (PreK-2)

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 â…“ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $150 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $322


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.

Purposeful Play: A Teacher's Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day” by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli, and Cheryl Tyler

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


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 120BXX

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40299

Unit One

  • An Introduction to Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  • Developmentally Appropriate Activities
  • The Importance of Play
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography/Write an article reflection

Unit Two

  • Phonological Awareness Instruction
  • Phonics Instruction
  • Sight Word Instruction
  • Assignment #2: Create classroom activities

Unit Three

  • Stages of Writing
  • Building Fine Motor Skills to Aid Writing
  • Writing Instruction
  • Assignment #3: Design a developmentally appropriate writing activity

Unit Four

  • Numeracy/Number Sense Instruction
  • Patterns and Sorting Instruction
  • Measurement and Graphing Instruction
  • Assignment #4: Create a developmentally appropriate lesson plan for number sense

Unit Five

  • Developing the Scientific Method in Young Learners
  • Developmentally Appropriate Experiments for Young Learners
  • Incorporating Students’ Interest into Science Education
  • Assignment #5: Design two science stations

Unit Six

  • Making Connections to the World
  • Activities Following the Expanding Communities Model
  • Using Literature to Develop Social Studies Topics
  • Assignment #6: Create developmentally appropriate social studies lesson
  • Assignment #7: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)