2016 Conversations on Access and Quality for Infants and Toddlers: Peer Learning Group

The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance, the BUILD Initiative, and the State Capacity Building Center’s Infant/Toddler Specialist Network worked with state teams to consider systems and policy work around infants and toddlers in their States. 
The period from birth to three years of age is marked by extraordinary growth across all developmental domains. Development during this period is rapid, dynamic, and sensitive to social, physical, biological, and environmental inputs. A child’s experiences from birth to three influence how he or she develops, learns, and interacts with the world, and set the foundation for all future learning and development. Several core principles related to the growth of infants, toddlers, and two-year-olds are critical to delivering the highest-quality services: 
  • Early relationships are most important and central to young children’s development. 
  • Development occurs simultaneously across multiple interdependent domains.
  • Children develop and learn at their own unique pace and in the context of their family, culture, and community.
  • Children from birth to three learn and master new skills through play.
These core principles, coupled with the Program for Infant/Toddler Care’s six essential program policies—primary care, small groups, continuity of care, individualized care, cultural continuity, and inclusion of children with disabilities or other special needs—provide a strong framework for early care and education policies and practices across all settings.
The Conversations on Access and Quality for Infants and Toddlers peer learning group was a five-part professional learning opportunity for impact teams (made up of state, regional, and/or local stakeholders). The peer learning group provided an overview of the essential policies of infant and toddler care followed by additional discussion-based webinars.