The Program for Infant/Toddler Care

Mission Statement

The Program for Infant/Toddler Care seeks to ensure that America's infants get a safe, healthy, emotionally secure and intellectually rich start in life. Its three-pronged mission is to

1) increase the availability and quality of child care for all children under age three;

2) disseminate information that increases the practice of responsive, respectful and relationship based infant toddler care; and

3) influence national, regional and local policies and practices so that the needs and interests of individual infants, toddlers, and their families are the foundation for all curriculum development and program activity.

The PITC Philosophy

Good infant care is neither baby-sitting nor preschool.
It is a special kind of care that resembles no other.

The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) approach equates good care with trained infant/toddler care teachers who are preparing themselves and the environment so that infants can learn. For care to be good, it must explore ways to help infant/toddler care teachers get "in tune" with each infant they serve and learn from the individual infant what he or she needs, thinks, and feels.

We believe infant care should be based on relationship planning -- not lesson planning -- and should emphasize child-directed learning over adult-directed learning. Rather than detailing specific lessons for infant/toddler care teachers to conduct with infants, the PITC approach shows infant/toddler care teachers ways of helping infants learn the lessons that every infant comes into the world eager to learn.

The PITC philosophy also sees the setting for care as critical. Therefore, it helps infant/toddler care teachers design environments that ensure safety, offer infants appropriate developmental challenges, and promote optimum health for children. An equally important program component is the strengthening of the child's developing family and cultural identity by making meaningful connections between child care and the child's family and culture.

Six program policies anchor our work: primary care; small groups; continuity; individualized care; cultural responsiveness; and, inclusion of children with special needs. These policies create a climate for care that reinforces our responsive, relationship based approach. They allow relationships to develop and deepen over time between infant/toddler care teachers and the children as well as between infant/toddler care teachers and the children's families.

PITC: A Relationship-Based Curriculum

The goal of PITC is to help infant/toddler care teachers recognize the crucial importance of giving tender, loving care and assisting in the infants' intellectual development through an attentive reading of each child's cues. The PITC's videos, guides, and manuals are designed to help child care managers and infant/toddler care teachers become sensitive to infants' cues, connect with their family and culture, and develop responsive, relationship-based care. The training materials provide the foundation for a style of care in which infant/toddler care teachers study the infants in their care, reflect on and record information about the children's interests and skills, and search for ways to set the stage for the child's next learning encounters.