Workforce Development

ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ Related Professional Criteria

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The ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ provide concise, clear guidance on essential knowledge and skills. They complement related professional criteria, tools, and child development benchmarks.

In partnership with the organizations below, the Critical Competencies have been crosswalked with the following related criteria for the early care and education and allied fields:

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation (NAEYC, 2009)
  • Council for Professional Recognition’s Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ competency standards (n.d.)
  • Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH) Competency Guidelines® (2014) for Infant Family Associates
  • Division for Early Childhood’s (DEC) Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/ Early Childhood Special Education (2014)
  • WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) topics and objectives (n.d.)
  • Collaborative for Understanding the Pedagogy of Infant/Toddler Development’s (CUPID) Draft Competencies for the Infant/Toddler Workforce (2015)
  • Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors (n.d.)

ZERO TO THREE’s Critical Competencies also embrace and integrate the principles set forth in the Irving Harris Foundation’s Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets (n.d.; reproduced with permission of the Irving Harris Foundation.). These 10 Tenets provide a diversity, inclusion, and fairness lens that can and should be applied to all practices and services aimed at supporting infants, toddlers, and their families. Some Tenets’ details are explicitly called out throughout the Critical Competencies to highlight examples of how inclusive teaching methods and practices can apply a diversity, inclusion, and fairness lens.

ZERO TO THREE is grateful to the owners of the above criteria for their ongoing partnership to support the early childhood workforce. Their willingness and time to review the Critical Competencies and to confirm relationships with their related criteria is especially appreciated.

ZERO TO THREE also suggests alignment between the Critical Competencies and the following selected infant–toddler/teacher observation tools:

  • Quality of Caregiver-Child Interaction for Infants and Toddlers (Q-CCIIT) draft indicators (Atkins-Burnett et al., 2015)
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) tool for infants (Hamre, La Paro, Pianta, & LoCasale-Crouch, 2014)
  • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) tool for toddlers (La Paro, Hamre, & Pianta, 2012)
  • Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale–Revised Edition (ITERS-R; Harms, Cryer, & Clifford, 2006)

In addition, ZERO TO THREE suggests correlations between the Critical Competencies and the child development outcomes described in the new Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015). These suggestions provide one example of the relationship between national criteria that describes what infants and toddlers are expected to know, understand, and be able to do and what the adults who care for and educate them should know, understand, and do to support the child development outcomes.

Continuing Education Units are available for all ZERO TO THREE training programs.

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Available for purchase individually or as a package, the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ suite of products and services includes:

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