Professional Resource

Duty to Care—You Make A Difference

May 25, 2016

This e-learning program introduces some of the unique challenges faced by military families with very young children and how early learning professionals can support them.

Military parents with very young children are experiencing repeated deployments and extended deployments, and for some, the injury or death of their service member.

Whatever your role in promoting the well-being of young children and their families, this e-learning program is sure to be a valuable asset in your practice.

Click on each file below to view the modules. Each module is about 20 minutes in length and require a browser with a flash player.

In each of the modules, you will find:

  • Information and strategies to apply to your daily practice;
  • Stories of military family members, infant/toddler educators, and other family support professionals;
  • Resources for you to use and to share with families; and
  • Learning check-ins to check your understanding of the content.

After completing all 3 modules, you will have the option of completing a brief evaluation. Whether or not you voluntarily complete the evaluation, you will be offered an opportunity to print a certificate of completion that reflects one hour of training when you successfully finish all three modules.

Module 1

Duty to Care – You Make a Difference

Learn about military life for babies and toddlers, review how young children learn and grow, and see how your everyday decisions and interactions with children and families matter.

Begin Module 1



Module 2

Buffering the Stress of Deployment

Explore how stress impacts young children’s development and how you can work together with families to help children cope with the stress of being separated from a loved one during deployment.

Begin Module 2



Module 3

Homecoming and Buffering the Stress of a Parent’s Injury or Death

This module helps you see what a young child may experience when their parent is injured or dies, and how to partner with families to help children cope and continue to thrive.

Begin Module 3



How to Get the Most Out of These E-Learning Modules

If you are new to the profession:

These modules are full of basic information about infant/toddler development, military families and quality programming, as well as the vital role you play in supporting children and families by providing high quality care. We encourage you to team up with a learning partner (s) to discuss the rich content and to provide each other with support and feedback as you try out new ideas and strategies in your practice.

If you are a more experienced infant/toddler educator:

These modules may be an affirmation of concepts in your practice. At the same time, they may be an opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and develop new skills around working with military families. Be open to new information and insights as you work your way through each module. Read the included articles to extend your learning. To take your understanding even deeper, explore the listed resources and share your new discoveries and thoughts with a colleague(s).

If you are a program leader:

You may want to use these modules to introduce your staff to some of the unique challenges faced by military families. Given the number of National Guard and Reserve families serving our country, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan veteran families who have transitioned out of the military, we suggest you make it a policy to explore the following questions with all new families entering your program: Are you a military family? Have you ever served in the military? And/or Are you experiencing deployment? As mentioned above, much of the content in the modules is also applicable to civilian families experiencing the challenges of separation, parental injury, or death.

If you are a professional development specialist:

These modules can be used by individuals or to lay the foundation for a series of staff meetings about working with military families. For example, you may want to ask everyone to come prepared to share insights and questions from one section. This training can also be used as the focus for a mentoring relationship.

A Closing Thought

It’s important to remember that the young children of military families in your care have lived their whole lives during wartime. Your ongoing respect and support helps strengthen their relationships and feelings of safety and security. We honor and thank you for your important work.


We gratefully acknowledge the McCormick Foundation for their support of this e-learning experience.