Alabama Pathways

Infant & Toddler Care

With our country fac8577073756_d3fd3fd090_oing increasingly tough economic times, and a growing number of mothers entering the labor force to help support their families, child care is more important than ever to families and to the overall health and well-being of our country. Second only to the immediate family, child care is the setting in which early childhood development unfolds for nearly six million children under age 3. Quality child care offers the promise of a solid future by providing our youngest children nurturing, support for early learning and language development, preparation for school, and the opportunity for all infants and toddlers to reach their full potential. Child care is no longer viewed as simply a basic support for parents, but an exciting opportunity to promote the early education of young children. It is also a significant component of the economic infrastructure of states—providing long-term benefits for the government, businesses, and workers in terms of jobs, revenue, and future economic success.

Research indicates that the strongest effects of quality child care are found with at-risk children—children from families with few resources and under great stress. Unfortunately, at-risk infants and toddlers often receive poor quality child care that can diminish their potential and lead to poor cognitive, social, and emotional developmental outcomes. Research suggests that even small improvements in staff ratios and training and modest caregiver compensation initiatives can produce considerable improvements in the observed quality of care for young children. Yet our nation’s child care policies are not being influenced by this knowledge. Federal and state policymakers can act now to ensure that families are able to seize the potential of quality child care for their infants and toddlers.

Online Resources for Infant and Toddler Caregivers

keysBetter Brains for Babies is a collaboration of organizations dedicated to promoting awareness and education about the importance of early brain development in the healthy growth and development of infants and young children.

BrainWonders is designed to provide parents, caregivers, and pediatric and family clinicians with meaningful information about early brain development and the relationships between babies and their parents and caregivers that support intellectual and social-emotional development.

duckCenter for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy focuses on maternal and child health and early childhood issues. Provides numerous resources for professionals working with young children.

Building a Healthy Start is a project of the Alabama Department of Public Health that focuses on the professional development for caregivers of infants and toddlers to improve the quality of care in Alabama by integrating nationally recognized health and safety standards into six best practice training modules for caregivers of infants and toddlers.

topEarly Head Start National Resource Center supports high-quality services to Early Head Start and Migrant Head Start expectant parents and families with infants and toddlers through People Networks and Communication Systems, Knowledge Building, and Program Development.

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute is a multi-disciplinary institute at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The institute’s mission is to cultivate and share the knowledge necessary to enhance child development and family well-being.

ballHigh/Scope Educational Research Foundation promotes the development of children and youth worldwide and supports educators and families as they help children learn. High/Scope develops curricula, trains teachers, conducts and publishes research, and publishes educational books, many related to infant and toddler growth and development.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers information on early childhood education and development, accreditation, public policy, research, professional development, and more.

ABC blocksNational Infant and Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE works collaboratively with Child Care and Development Fund administrators and other partners to move forward system initiatives to improve the quality and supply of infant and toddler child care.

The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) promotes responsive care for infants and toddlers with its many resources and programs.

maracasNational Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education supports child care providers and early educators, families, health professionals, early childhood comprehensive systems, state child care regulatory agencies, state and local health departments, and policy makers in their efforts to identify and promote healthy and safe child care and early education programs.

Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) has a unique approach based on respect that helps raise infants who are competent, confident, curious, attentive, exploring, and more.

stackingTeaching Strategies offers practical, innovative, and developmentally appropriate curriculum materials, training services, training materials, and parenting resources for children birth through age eight.

WestEd is a nonprofit research, development, and service agency that promotes learning for infants, toddlers, youth, and adults. The organization offers many resources and materials for those working with infants and toddlers.

teddy bearZERO TO THREE provides numerous resources that support the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers, and their families. Its Policy Network is a vehicle for professionals to use their knowledge and expertise to affect public policy.

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