Infant Toddler Specialist Program
Research has shown that the time from birth to 3 years of age lays the foundation for all future experiences in a child's life, with the brain developing at an astonishing rate - quicker than any other time in a person's life.
Positive adult-child interactions and daily routines play a critical role in the development of a child. Infant-Toddler Caregivers have a profound impact on a child's learning potential.
The Infant Toddler Specialist Program is designed to offer training and support to child care providers that work with children from birth to 3 years of age.
Some of the specific topics that the Infant-Toddler Specialists can work with providers on include . . .
- Designing environments for infants and toddlers (safety, space & materials)
- Activities for infants and toddlers that support development
- Ways to ease transitions (e.g., drop off and pick-up time)
- Making routines matter
- Developing relationships and communicating with families
- Staff development for Infant-Toddler Caregivers
- Positive discipline / challenging behaviors
- Referrals to other resources
Family Child Care Programs
Infant Toddler Play and Learn Series: The series, offered to both licensed and license-exempt family child care providers, consists of 6-8 visits to the provider's home. Visits include one-on-one sessions between the provider and the specialist addressing any topics, questions, or needs concerning children from birth to 3 years of age.
Together, the provider and facilitator will explore how infants and toddlers learn through play. Specialist will provide all materials including resources that will be used by the children. There are also monthly gatherings offered to the Play and Learn Series providers that allow providers to share experiences and explore new ideas.
- Infant-Toddler Child Care Specialists also offer individualized consultations to Family Child Care providers to address their specific needs and support them on projects to improve or prepare for infant and toddler care.
Child Care Centers
Center-Based Programs providing care for children 6 weeks to 3 years are eligible for on-site visits, observations, and customized in-service trainings.
The Infant-Toddler Child Care Specialist will assist classroom teachers and directors to set goals for strengthening their child care program for infants and toddlers, and provide the training and support to help accomplish those goals.
The specialists can address such issues as: classroom environment, health and safety, practices and experiences that support infant and toddler development, routines and transitions, relationship building and partnering with families, continuity of care, and primary caregiver support.
Who is eligible to have a visit from an Infant-Toddler Child Care Specialist?
- License-Exempt Family Child Care Providers caring for children younger than 3 years of age.
- Family Child Care Providers that are licensed by DCFS who are providing care for children younger than 3 years of age.
- Center Based Programs (licensed and non-licensed) providing care for children younger than 3 years of age.
- Family Child Care programs and Center-Based Programs that have not previously provided care for infants and/or toddlers but are preparing to do so.
All programs are available in English and Spanish.