The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) is a comprehensive training program that employs evidence-based training materials and strategies for the early education field. PITC is the most widely used training system for infant and toddler teachers in the United States. Over 7,500 trainers, college faculty, and program directors from all 50 states have attended one or more PITC training modules for trainers since 1990. In 2002 the National Center for Children in Poverty selected PITC as a model initiative to support infants, toddlers, and their families. PITC was also selected as the only example of quality infant/toddler childcare practices for inclusion in the latest edition of "Approaches to Early Childhood Education" (Roopnarine & Johnson, 2009).
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care Program Assessment & Reflection System (PITC PARS), developed by WestEd, is a resource to use for observing, documenting, and reflecting on the essential aspects of infant/toddler group care — from caregiving interactions to the physical environment to program policies and administrative structures. The PITC PARS supports users in understanding and observing responsive, relationship-based care for infants and toddlers (0–3 years) in both family child care and center-based programs.
The PITC PARS was originally developed to assess the extent to which infant and toddler care programs reflect the philosophy of the Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) of responsive, relationship-based nurturance that supports young children’s social-emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development (Bornstein & Bornstein, 1995; Lally & Mangione, 2006; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). In 1998, the lack of an observation tool that emphasized interactions and relationships with a holistic view of infant and toddler care quality prompted the development of the PITC PARS as an instrument for self-study. As the definition of infant and toddler care quality has been refined since that time, the PITC PARS continues to reflect the research literature’s current conceptualization of quality and, we believe, can be used in broader quality improvement contexts.
WestEd is a preeminent education research, development, and service organization, and key leader in moving research into practice. The agency’s mission is to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. Since 1985, WestEd has been deeply involved in service to children from birth to eight years of age, with extensive experience supporting the development of early childhood systems throughout California and providing training and technical assistance in 19 other states. WestEd is dedicated to helping America’s children get a healthy start in life by promoting research-based, high-quality early care and education services, with special attention to children living in poverty, dual language learners, and those who have or at risk of disabilities.