Competencies of Infant and Toddler Teachers and Caregivers: A Review of the Literature

OPRE Report 2019-94
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Oct 30, 2019
Pia Caronongan, Emily Moiduddin, Sally Atkins-Burnett, Katherine Niland, and Miranda Kharsa

Key Findings:

  • Our review suggests that the knowledge base pertaining specifically to links between infant/toddler teacher or caregiver competencies and outcomes is currently limited in scope.
  • Although many studies focus on describing competencies, our literature search yielded only 30 studies conducted in the United States in or after 2008 that examined associations between infant/toddler teacher or caregiver competencies and outcomes.
  • The available research specific to I/T teachers and caregivers in group settings does not yet fully support the content included in existing competency frameworks targeted to this population.
  • Much of the existing literature simultaneously examines the contributions of multiple competencies within a particular domain (e.g., a combination of knowledge, skills, or other attributes that support children’s socioemotional development) to outcomes.

Although the first three years of a child’s life are a distinct developmental period, little information is available about the specific knowledge, skills, and other attributes that are essential to the practice of teaching and caring for infants and toddlers. This report, from the Infant and Toddler Teacher and Caregiver Competencies (ITTCC) project, examines what is known about the links between infant/toddler teacher or caregiver competencies and outcomes in several areas (child, family, teacher/caregiver, classroom, and/or program).

Identifying the competencies essential for infant/toddler teachers and caregivers may help to provide a common language and lens for assessing job performance and provide a clear structure for professional growth and development.

Senior Staff

Emily Moiduddin
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Sally Atkins-Burnett
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Pia Caronongan
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