Professional Resource

ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™

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The new ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ suite of professional development products and services helps educators build the essential knowledge and skills they need, in flexible and user-friendly formats.

New! Buy the Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators book from the ZERO TO THREE Book Store

Infant-toddler educators have one of the most important jobs in the world – supporting our children during a critical period of development – but they often lack the practical resources to support them. ZERO TO THREE set out to change that, and in 2016, we released the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™. This competency model defines the specific knowledge and practices required for infant-toddler educators to be successful now, to support the future of our children.

New! Buy the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ eBook

Available exclusively in the ZERO TO THREE bookstore.

Buy Now

The Critical Competencies:

  • Describe the recommended teaching methods and practices with easily understood guidance and examples
  • Feature considerations for working with high-needs populations and multi-language learners
  • Support educators who work in group settings (center-based and family child care homes) with infants, toddlers, or both
  • Build on professional criteria for the early childhood field

The Critical Competencies address three essential learning and development areas, depicted in the graphic below.

Suite of Products and Services

The ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ suite of products and services builds essential knowledge and skills educators need to be effective. Available for purchase individually or as a package, the suite includes:

  • Critical Competencies Model eBook: The eBook defines the professional criteria and explains how educators can make the most of teacher-child interactions to support infants’ and toddlers’ social-emotional, cognitive, and language and literacy development. Now available from the ZERO TO THREE Bookstore.

  • Reflection Tool: This online tool uses the Critical Competencies to help infant-toddler educators examine areas of strength and opportunities for improving their daily interactions with children. Customized, aggregate reporting and consultation helps organizations make data-driven professional development decisions. Now available.

  • Professional Development Modules: 13 modules build educators’ Critical Competencies, available through a variety of delivery options, onsite or online—select all 13, or choose from options that support specific needs. Now available.

  • Technical Assistance: ZERO TO THREE’s experts use the Critical Competencies as a framework to help organizations and agencies meet their infant-toddler workforce goals. A range of services are available, including presentations; analysis and recommendations; and support for leadership, coaching, and training skills. Now available – Learn More

  • Professional Development Provider and Faculty Supports: Onsite, customized training-of-trainers builds your capacity to support infant-toddler educators, with an option to become a ZERO TO THREE Certified Trainer: Critical Competencies. Offerings also include “Community of Practice” facilitator trainings, and faculty institutes and resources. Now available.

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

Contact Us

Email to learn how the ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ can support your professional development goals.

  • Author

    Maria Victoria Mayoral

    Former Co-Director, Transcultural Innovation

  • Author

    Sarah LeMoine

    Director, Early Childhood Workforce Innovations

  • Author

    Allyson Dean

    Director of Resource Management, Development, and Dissemination

    National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning

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  • Training

    Building Collaborative Relationships With Families

    This session supports relationship building with families by helping professionals to define and practice active listening skills, explore the parallel process, and the importance of reflection.

  • Training

    Trauma and Toxic Stress*

    This session shares the science behind trauma and toxic stress and strategies for supporting very young children and their families when they have a traumatic experience.

  • Training

    Importance of Play

    This session will define play, review stages of play, and discuss strategies participants can use during their interactions with young children to support learning through play.

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