Early Experiences Matter

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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Professional Resources

The Road to Quality: From Classrooms to Systems
This proceedings paper summarizes a 2015 quality improvement policy summit held by First 5 California with assistance from WestEd and ZERO TO THREE. The paper includes overarching themes across summit presentations and policy recommendations to encourage continuous quality improvement in programs serving young children in California. View the Executive Summary

Infants and Toddlers in the Policy Picture: A Self-Assessment Toolkit for States
This toolkit is intended to help state policy leaders and advocates assess the current status of services for infants, toddlers, and their families and to set priorities for improvement. The toolkit is divided into sections focused on four goals of a state early childhood system: good health, strong families, positive early learning experiences, and collaboration and system building. A user-friendly format allows users to easily access state information from national sources, assess how your state compares to other states, and gather stakeholder input.

State Policy Tracker
View this at-a-glance resource to see which states have important policies in place to promote high-quality programs for infants and toddlers and build the capacity of the workforce.

Supporting Babies Through QRIS
Supporting Babies Through QRIS is a series of documents developed by ZERO TO THREE’s Policy Center to help ensure that Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) are supporting the unique developmental needs of infants and toddlers. The documents present a national review of states’ and jurisdictions’ QRIS that have been implemented statewide and illustrate some examples of QRIS standards and supports that have been included across the nation to help programs promote young children’s development and learning. The series includes Implementation Status and Tools in US States and Other Jurisdictions, Inclusion of Infant and Toddler Quality Standards, and A Self-Assessment Tool for US States and Other Jurisdictions.

The Early Experiences Matter Policy Guide includes an issue brief on building early childhood systems. To access the brief and the complete toolkit, click here.

Baby Matters: A Gateway to State Policies and Initiatives is a searchable database that contains information on state policies and initiatives that impact infants, toddlers and their families. To search Baby Matters for information on building early childhood systems, click here.

Making It Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Providing Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health
This article is intended to illuminate the scientific evidence for I-ECMH policies; examine issues faced by national, state, and local program directors and mental health practitioners in providing I-ECMH services; and propose a set of recommendations for policy improvements at the federal level.

Building Strong Systems of Support for Young Children’s Mental Health
Sheila Smith, Shannon Stagman, Susan Blank, Christine Ong, and Kendra McDow (2011)
This report from the National Center for Children in Poverty describes key strategies for creating a comprehensive system of supports for young children’s mental health and provides examples from states using these strategies. It also includes a tool that state planners can use to assess progress and plan steps toward building a strong system of early childhood mental health supports.

Comprehensive Early Childhood System Powerpoint 
Early Childhood Systems Working Group (2011)
This set of powerpoint slides was developed by the Early Childhood Systems Working Group (including ZERO TO THREE) in 2006 and revised in 2011.  The slides are a visual representation of the guiding principles, results, and functions of a comprehensive early childhood system.

Toward a Bright Future for Our Youngest Children: Building a Strong Infant-Toddler Workforce
This policy brief by the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center focuses on strengthening systems that support professional development for the multidisciplinary infant-toddler workforce. The paper summarizes related research and the policy context. Ten recommendations are offered to ensure that policymakers invest in comprehensive, integrated professional development systems for those who work with infants, toddlers, and their families.

Recommendations and Issues for Consideration when Writing or Revising Early Learning Guidelines
Catherine Scott-Little, Sharon Lynn Kagan, and Victoria Frelow (2010)
This document describes key decisions committees working on infant-toddler and/or preschool Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) should consider. ELG committees can use this document to help them plan how they will write and format their ELG document and/or as they refine or revise their guidelines. The resource suggests issues that should be decided, provides recommendation, and outlines other consideration to think about as decisions are made.

Putting Standards into Practice: States’ Use of Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers 
This paper by the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center draws upon 2010 interviews with representatives of eight states on implementation and alignment of their Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) for infants and toddlers.  It summarizes the status of guidelines in states and offers suggestions and examples related to disseminating and training on the ELG and embedding them into professional development and quality improvement systems. The paper provides definitions and examples of aligning the ELG for infants and toddlers both vertically, with guidelines for older children, and horizontally, with other parts of the infant-toddler system.

Infant/Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Implementation Toolkit
This toolkit, a joint project of the Policy Center and the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative at ZERO TO THREE, assists states with strategic planning to support the implementation of Early Learning Guidelines for infants and toddlers. The planning process is designed to maximize involvement of stakeholders while minimizing face-to-face meeting requirements. The toolkit includes related resources and tools such as sample meeting agendas, power points, activity instructions, and planning templates. The process will result in a concrete plan for implementing Early Learning Guidelines for infants and toddlers in a state. 

Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers: Recommendations for States
This report by ZERO TO THREE, drawing on the expertise of national and state leaders, offers recommendations and examples to states as they embark on an inclusive process to develop or refine research-based early learning guidelines for infants and toddlers. This report focuses on the unique and foundational nature of the infant and toddler period and addresses issues related to both process and content.  It is offered as a road map for states as they develop policies and programs that lay a strong foundation for child development and future learning through responsive, appropriate, and high-quality early experiences.

Common Vision, Different Paths: Five States’ Journeys toward Comprehensive Prenatal-to-Five Systems
A joint report from ZERO TO THREE and Pre-K Now articulates a common vision for early childhood systems in which programs work effectively with each other to provide high-quality early learning and comprehensive services.  The report reveals lessons learned from five states’ unique journeys toward such prenatal-to-five systems and identifies four cornerstones that have helped states succeed in this work.  Advocates and policymakers will also find guidance on building on the momentum around individual programs for the larger push toward a system that works for all young children and families. To request printed copies, e-mail Nora Tarr.

Prenatal through PreK: Building Bright Futures
Explores how policymakers can include infant and toddler policies in prekindergarten initiatives.

Birth to 5 and Beyond: A Growing Movement in Early Education
An abridged version of the article Birth to 5 and Beyond: A Growing Movement in Early Education, published in the July 2006 issue of the Zero to Three Journal. 

Inside the Content of Infant-Toddler Early Learning Guidelines: Results from Analyses, Issues to Consider, and Recommendations
Catherine Scott-Little, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Victoria Stebbins Frelow, and Jeanne Reid (2008)Provides a content analysis of 21 states’ infant-toddler Early Learning Guidelines, as well as recommendations to improve content. 

Foundations: How States Can Plan and Fund Program for Babies and Toddlers
Ounce of Prevention Fund (2006)Addresses the importance of healthy development in the earliest years and how states can structure funding and invest in programs to ensure that babies and toddlers are ready to learn.



Inspiring Innovation: Creative State Financing Structures for Infant-Toddler Services
Read More
Babies and Toddlers in the Policy Picture: A Self-Assessment Checklist for States and Communities
Read More

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Copyright © 2014 ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20037 | Phone: (202) 638-1144 | Fax: (202) 638-0851

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