Infant & Toddler Development Program
Ten Years of Learning . . . and Training
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
Child development researchers increasingly recognize the earliest years of life as a time when prudent investment in well-focused supports for
children’s development sets the stage for positive future outcomes. Studies also suggest that most out-of-home child care environments for infants
and toddlers are of mediocre quality.
Researchers consistently identify the child development knowledge and skills of persons who care for young children as a major feature of a high-
quality child care setting and an indicator of positive child outcomes. These findings have contributed to growing interest in caregiver training as
a promising strategy for improving young children’s well-being. Yet the task of developing, implementing and sustaining a large-scale system of
providing training to infant/toddler caregivers is largely uncharted territory.
BUSH FOUNDATION RESPONSE
Since the early 1990s, the Bush Foundation’s Infant/Toddler Development Program has
supported the development of statewide training for infant/toddler caregivers in Minnesota, THE GRANTS
North Dakota and South Dakota, the three states that comprise its funding region. At the
Foundation support to the three states involved in the
core of the initiative is a train-the-trainer model that prepares early childhood professionals to
program has been extensive—$13.7 million* since
provide training to infant/toddler caregivers through intensive preparation in the Program for
Infant/Toddler Caregivers (PITC), a nationally prominent, relationship-based approach to
infant/toddler care developed by child development experts J. Ronald Lally and Peter Mangione
at WestEd in California.
Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral
This report provides an overview of the accomplishments and lessons of 10 years of Network
providing infant/toddler caregiver training in the Bush Foundation’s region—the initiative’s
• For planning—1 grant of $14,400
accomplishments and ripple effects, its challenges and responses, and its conclusions.
• For Phase 1—4 grants totaling $2,257,248
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND RIPPLE EFFECTS • For Successor—2 grants totaling $794,794
New or improved systems of training delivery
In Minnesota and North Dakota, the program enabled child care resource and referral agencies State of North Dakota, Department of Human
to strengthen their capacity to provide training, a relatively new function for these agencies, Services
which began as referral resources to help parents find child care. In South Dakota, the initiative
triggered the development of five regional Early Childhood Enrichment Centers that provide
• For planning—1 grant of $11,793
training in early childhood development. • For Phase 1—6 grants totaling $3,321,182
Tribal colleges, state universities, technical colleges and Minnesota’s online Eager-to-Learn • For Successor—3 grants totaling $1,822,813
caregiver training program now include course offerings in infant/toddler development and
State of South Dakota, Department of Social
Dispersion of trainers and training throughout the region Services
Since the initiative began, PITC has trained more than 430 individuals to become trainers of • For planning—2 grants totaling $33,362
infant/toddler caregivers. In turn, these trainers have conducted approximately 3,000 trainings
• For Phase 1—5 grants totaling $3,493,390
involving some 30,000 individuals throughout Minnesota and North Dakota since 1994 and
in South Dakota since 1998. Home-based providers of infant/toddler care are by far the most • For Successor—4 grants totaling $1,955,762
common participants in training sessions. *At November 2004
Adaptations and leadership for diverse cultural communities
In Minnesota, infant/toddler caregiver training is now available in six
languages in addition to English: Arabic, Ethiopian, Hmong, Laotian, MILESTONES
Somali and Spanish. There are 20 trainers of color in Minnesota.
Tribal coordinators of infant/toddler caregiver training on reservations 1991–1992 The Bush Foundation’s Board of Directors identifies very young
in South Dakota developed an informational resource titled Wakanyeja children at risk of learning and developmental problems as
WoAwanka (“Caring for our sacred children”) to improve the a programmatic priority. In a series of consultations with
understandings of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people. Foundation staff, state leaders and child development experts
Innovative approaches to deepening the impact of training recommend a long-term Bush Foundation investment in training
and support for caregivers as a promising strategy for reversing
North Dakota developed a consultation model of training called
a pervasive pattern of low-quality child care for infants and
the Quality Enhancement Project that tailors training and technical
assistance to infant/toddler caregivers by assessing the quality of care
in a classroom or family child care home. The consultation work with 1993 The Foundation awards planning grants to establish or improve
centers includes training for center directors as well as infant/toddler statewide systems of training for infant/toddler caregivers based
staff. Minnesota and South Dakota are also developing consultation on the highly regarded Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers
(PITC) developed by J. Ronald Lally and Peter Mangione at
KEY ELEMENTS OF SYSTEM CHANGE WestEd in collaboration with the California Department of
• The strategic focus on caregiver training as the pathway to quality Education.
improvement in infant/toddler development is paying off. Caregiver
1994–1995 The Bush Foundation Infant/Toddler Development Program
training directly links to other contributors to quality environments
and raises the bar of quality by disseminating information about best launches with grants to state governments in North Dakota
practices in infant/toddler care. and Minnesota for providing PITC training to infant/toddler
• Responsive partnerships with state government are integral to caregivers.
achieving desired and lasting change in systems that support quality 1998 The program expands with a grant to the South Dakota state
environments for infants and toddlers. Targeted support for the de-
government for providing PITC training to infant/toddler
velopment of training systems and resources are essential to reaching
a continuum of child care settings.
• The Foundation’s long-term commitment to the initiative enables 2000–2001 The Foundation’s Directors review the experiences and lessons
meaningful change to occur. Progress is particularly significant of the program in each of the states, including Native American
when individuals responsible for infant/toddler caregiver training reservations; the Board establishes the Successor grantmaking
view Foundation support as a rare opportunity to leverage additional program to strengthen and sustain the initiative’s early
resources and create sustainable change. accomplishments.
• Ongoing support to the individuals who provide training in infant/
toddler caregivers is essential to maintaining a resourceful cadre of 2002 The Foundation grants support four pilot projects in Minnesota
trainers. and reservations in North Dakota aimed at developing and
• Creative and persistent efforts are required to recruit and sustain implementing innovative ways of supporting infant/toddler child
the participation of caregivers in infant/toddler trainings. Existing care provided by family, friends and neighbors.
training systems are not appropriately designed to reach the growing
2004 South Dakota State University establishes the South Dakota
unlicensed population of family (especially grandmothers and aunts),
friends and neighbors who care for infants and toddlers. Institute for Infant Toddler Care and Development to develop
• Progress in the uncharted territory of infant/toddler caregiver training and provide training and technical assistance to trainers of
requires members of the initiative to function in a learning mode. infant/toddler caregivers in collaboration with PITC.
Major points of forward movement have occurred when all parties
carefully examined the nature and results of actions to formulate next steps.
Coming January 2005
The Bush Foundation Infant/Toddler Development Program Turns 10
To request a copy of the report or to learn more about the Bush Foundation,
visit www.bushfoundation.org or call (651) 227-0891.