The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) seeks to ensure that America's infants get a safe,healthy, emotionally secure, and intellectually rich start in life.
The three-pronged mission is to: (1) increase the quality and availability of child care for all children under age 3; (2) increase the number of knowledgeable trainers focused on the 0 to 3 age period through making available high-quality video and print training materials and promoting effective training strategies; (3) disseminate information that increases the practice of responsive, respectful, and relationship-based infant toddler care
PITC took on its mission in 1985 in response to the low quality of infant/toddler child care found in the United States, the increased use of and demand for infant/toddler care, and the paucity of trainers and training materials available for the age period.
Children in care who received more sensitive and responsive attention had fewer caregiver-reported problems at ages 2 and 3. Instability of care, as measured by the number of entries into new care arrangements, was found to be associated with higher probability of insecure attachment in infancy if mothers were not providing sensitive and responsive care.
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) approach equates good care with trained infant/toddler care teachers who are preparing themselves and the environment so that infants can learn. For care to be good, it must explore ways to help infant/toddler care teachers get "in tune" with each infant they serve and learn from the individual infant what he or she needs, thinks, and feels.
The goal of PITC is to help infant/toddler care teachers recognize the crucial importance of giving tender, loving care and assisting in the infants' intellectual development through an attentive reading of each child's cues. The PITC's videos, guides, and manuals are designed to help child care managers and infant/toddler care teachers become sensitive to infants' cues, connect with their family and culture, and develop responsive, relationship-based care. The training materials provide the foundation for a style of care in which infant/toddler care teachers study the infants in their care, reflect on and record information about the children's interests and skills, and search for ways to set the stage for the child's next learning encounters.
PITC training is delivered through multiple modalities including institutes, on-site training, and video, print, and Web-based materials. Caregivers will receive modules, on-site coaching, and technical assistance from PITC-certified trainers.
For example, ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. The mission of ZERO TO THREE is to support the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers, and their families.
Training based on child-development knowledge and sound practice must be mandated. Federal, state, and local agencies must work together to create training systems that reach all infant/toddler caregivers, including family child-care providers.
During the infant/toddler years, all children depend on responsive, secure relationships to develop and learn. As stated in the CDE’s Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Program Guidelines (2007), high-quality programs offer infants and toddlers primary relationships in small groups. Such programs provide personalized care that reflects consideration for individual differences among children. Programs also develop partnerships with children’s families to connect children’s experiences at home with their experiences in the infant/toddler program.