State Policies Can Better Prepare Infant/Toddler Care Providers
Dec 23, 2009
Babies and toddlers in child care look to their adult caregivers for warm care that responds to their cues, developmental needs, and family background. Knowledge about early childhood development, appropriate practice, and skills to establish connections with babies and their families are critical for infant/toddler providers. States can establish core competencies that address the work of infant/toddler providers and embed them within their coursework and training offerings. Some states are working to ensure that early learning and development guidelines developed for birth to three are appropriate and accessible to parents and the extended network of family, friend, and neighbor caregivers for babies and toddlers.
More can also be done to ensure that institutes of higher education increase offerings and required coursework on infant and toddler care. Early childhood education teacher preparation programs are less likely to require a practicum in infant/toddler care as compared to one in preschool-aged care. Experts also point to other challenges, such as a lack of faculty capacity to teach and mentor infant/toddler providers and the need for more high quality infant/toddler care settings for a practicum placement. Community-based training may also need shoring up with only a small share of training offered by child care resource and referral agencies nationally targeted to specific age groups, such as infants/toddlers.
As part of its Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care project, CLASP has released two new reports on what states can do to Establish Core Competencies and Provide Access to Training, Education, and Ongoing Supports for infant/toddler providers and caregivers. Both reports present supporting research and ideas for how state child care licensing, subsidy, and quality enhancement policies can move toward these recommendations, state examples, and online resources for state policymakers.