The PITC Trainer Institute is a comprehensive study of the PITC philosophy and recommended practices that support high-quality infant and toddler care.

Institute participants engage in a variety of interactive and online learning activities organized around the following four content modules.

Module I: Social-Emotional Growth and Socialization

Guidance and Discipline with Infants and Toddlers in Group Care

Participants explore:

  • The roots of socialization and Selma Freiberg’s concept of developmental equipment.
  • The concepts of prevention and intervention with specific guidance techniques appropriate for infants and toddlers at different stages of development.

Understanding Children’s Behavior: Supporting the Individual Needs of Infants and Toddlers

Participants focus on:

  • Recognizing and understanding individual and developmental issues underlying the emotional messages and behavior of infants and toddlers in group care.
  • Concepts and training strategies for helping care teachers understand and respond appropriately to infants and toddlers are introduced.

Temperament: A Practical Approach to Meeting Individual Needs

Participants learn and examine:

  • The concept of temperament and its dimensions.
  • The temperament tendencies of infants and toddlers.
  • The influence of temperament on their relationships with infants and toddlers.
  • Goodness-of-fit, along with cultural perspectives on temperament as central to caring for young infants and toddlers in group care.

Social-Emotional Milestones, Responsive Caregiving, and Identity

Participants examine:

  • How an understanding of three stages of infancy (birth to around 8 months, around 8 months to around 18 months, and around 18 months to 36 months) helps adults attune their nurturance of infants and toddlers.
  • The developmental themes of security, exploration, and identity play a role during each age period.
  • Different factors that influence responsive care; including an understanding of child development, sensitivity to the family and culture of each child, self-reflection, and observation and careful reading of children’s cues.
  • How adults can effectively engage in a responsive “back-and-forth” dance in their relationships with infants and toddlers.

Module II: Group Care

Environments for Group Care

Participants focus on the intentional use of space, equipment, and materials to support children’s development and learning in infant/toddler care programs.

More Than Just Routine

Participants cover: 

  • Every aspect of caregiving routines, from their basics to their importance as opportunities for children’s learning and relationship building.
  • Complex cultural issues related to the routine care of infants and toddlers.

Making It Happen: Small Groups and Individualized Care


  • Consider a range of different needs including children’s ages, stages of development, temperaments, families and cultural practices, and differing abilities.
  • Address how full consideration of individual children’s differing needs leads to care that is appropriate to each child.
  • Examine strategies for creating intimate environments that support children’s relationships and learning; particularly how to overcome barriers to setting up environments to accommodate small groups.

Exploring Primary Caregiving and Continuity of Care


  • Reflect on the meaning of relationships in their lives and connect their feelings about relationships to the relationship experiences of infants and toddlers in group care.
  • Review research to support the PITC’s emphasis on primary relationships that continue over time.
  • Develop strategies to address social, economic, and attitudinal barriers to implementing the policies of primary care and continuity.

Respectful Care (Optional)

Participants review the highly influential and regarded approach to infant/toddler care of internationally known expert Magda Gerber; including the challenging and sometimes controversial ideas in areas such as guidance and discipline, toys and equipment, infant stimulation, and culture and family. 

Module III: Learning and Development

Brain Development in Infants and Toddlers

Participants learn aspects of early brain development and recent research findings most relevant to the care of infants and toddlers in groups including: 

  • The effect of stress on early brain development.
  • The importance of appropriate stimulation.
  • The benefits of nurturing, responsive care in development.
  • The potential long-term consequences to the child of inappropriate, neglectful, or unresponsive care.

Discoveries of Infancy

Participants learn:

  • The “discoveries” of infancy cognitive development and learning first identified by Jean Piaget.
  • How to facilitate early learning and cognitive development.

Special Needs


  • Learn Information and techniques they can use to help infant care teachers become more knowledgeable about and comfortable with including infants and toddlers with special needs in group care.
  • Examine their own attitudes toward inclusion and disabilities through engaging reflective activities.
  • Review how to adapt toys, materials, and environments so that children with disabilities can use them effectively.

Language Development, Communication, and Culture

Participants explore how to facilitate language development and communication in infants and toddlers; especially by making children’s experiences with language positive and engaging in the context of nurturing relationships.

Module IV: Culture, Family, and Providers

Harmonizing Cultural Diversity for Sensitive Infant Care


  • Explore their cultural expectations and biases
  • Learn about alternative perspectives and realities through the cultural lenses and experiences of others.
  • Increase their capacity for becoming culturally aware and responsive to families with children in infant/toddler care.

Responding to Families in Culturally Sensitive Ways


  • Increase their awareness of their own cultural assumptions and of how these assumptions may affect their interactions with families from cultures different from their own.
  • Explore in depth their own cultural roots
  • Focuses on developing culturally responsive relationships with families.

Protective Urges: Parent-Care Teacher Relations

Participants examine and explore the underlying emotional issues of infant care and their impact on the relationships between parents and infant care teachers, including:

  • The heightened emotions and protective feelings parents often feel when bringing their infants to an infant/toddler care program.
  • The protective feelings and emotional responses that teachers experience when they care for infants.
  • Strategies teachers can use to ease parents’ concerns about using infant/toddler care.
  • Steps teachers can take to work through their own feelings about relating to parents when dealing with difficult issues.

Acknowledge, Ask, and Adapt

Participants review scenarios and learn to interact with families and handle culturally sensitive issues in responsive ways.

In addition, the following two classes are presented at the end of modules during onsite training:

Developing Your Plan for Training

  • This session focuses on adult learning concepts and strategies as well as on building a community of learners. Participants have an opportunity to clarify topics and discuss issues that they may encounter when they train with the PITC information and materials. Time is allotted for participants to begin creating lesson plans for their certification papers and for their use in training infant care teachers.

PITC Certification Paper Guidelines, Academic Units, and CDA Information

  • This session is offered once at each trainer institute and is required only for new participants. Participants learn the guidelines for completion of certification papers and have an opportunity to answer questions about the PITC certification process.