PITC PARS is unique in the current landscape of tools and approaches to observing the quality of infant/toddler care programs in four important ways:
- It covers the entire birth to 36-month age period with items appropriately customized for different ages and stages of infancy.
- It has design features to be used in both family child care homes and center-based settings.
- It measures both structural indicators of quality (e.g., group size, teacher-child ratios, the layout of the space, materials and equipment in the environment, program policies) and process indicators of quality (e.g., teacher-child interactions, relationships with families).
- It promotes a strengths-based approach to measuring the quality of infant/toddler care programs by guiding observation of specific behaviors and interactions that promote children’s development and well-being and considers the whole care experience for all children and families enrolled in the program.
Recognizing the multifaceted nature of early care, the PITC PARS measures primary components of child care quality for infants/toddlers within five subscales listed below. Each subscale may be used alone or in conjunction with other subscales. Together, the five subscales provide a comprehensive look at infant/toddler care program quality.
- Quality of Adult’s Interactions with Children (Subscale I)
- Family Partnerships, Cultural Responsiveness, and Inclusive Care (Subscale II)
- Organization of Group Care (Subscale III)
- Physical Environment (Subscale IV)
- Routines and Record-Keeping (Subscale V)
It is appropriate for family child care educators, infant/toddler care teachers, administrators, coaches, trainers, and anyone who wants to learn about quality indicators for infant/toddler group care settings.
There are three primary purposes of the PITC PARS, described below:
- For study and reflection about quality indicators. The PITC PARS can be used to learn about the content of the instrument and deepen one’s knowledge about key components of high-quality infant/toddler care that are measured in the PITC PARS.
- For use in coaching to inform practice. The PITC PARS can be used to engage in coaching, guided reflections, and goal planning as part of continuous quality-improvement efforts.
- For evaluation and research. The PITC PARS can be used to collect objective information about infant/toddler program quality that can be used in evaluation and research studies.
A given user may engage with the PITC PARS related to one or more of the purposes outlined above. It is suggested that all users engage with the PITC PARS related to Purpose 1, for study and reflection about the quality indicators measured, to deepen their understanding of the content prior to using the PITC PARS for Purposes 2 and 3. After learning about the quality indicators,
- Infant/toddler care teachers, program staff, coaches, and others may be interested in engaging with the PITC PARS related to Purpose 2, for use in coaching to inform practice.
- Researchers and evaluators may want to engage with the PITC PARS related to Purpose 3, to learn how to apply observational principles, guidelines, procedures, and decision rules objectively and consistently.