“Developmentally appropriate practice” (DAP), a world-renown framework coined and promoted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and adopted by many countries globally, has become an emblem of effective methods for promoting optimal development and learning in children. However, despite its widespread contributions to and popularity in the early childhood (EC) field at both local and global levels, DAP has not been without criticism. This chapter endeavors to better understand the DAP framework by critically analyzing its four iterations over the last nearly four decades (since the inception of the very first NAEYC position statement on DAP in 1986). We first provide an overview of the origin and definition of DAP, followed by a brief history of DAP in terms of its conceptualization, evolution, and advancement over time. We then deconstruct DAP’s contributions and limitations as a local and universal educational framework by analyzing affirmations and criticisms of specific aspects of the earlier versions of the DAP position statement and book by scholars. We also examine research on translating DAP beliefs into practice by EC teachers in the United States and other cultural contexts. Finally, we discuss the inappropriateness of applying the DAP framework as a universal model of effective EC practices to other socially and culturally incompatible contexts.