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Developing and assessing competencies for teachers and caregivers serving infants and toddlers: Meeting summary, January 4, 2017

A number of federal initiatives are currently aimed at improving the quality of infant/toddler care and education, including professional development efforts to improve workforce capacity. Engaging infant/toddler care providers in effective professional development can be particularly challenging, for at least three reasons: 1.the vast majority of care for infants and toddlers is home-based, 2. the infant/toddler workforce overall has low levels of education, and 3. the infant/toddler teachers and caregivers who do engage in training and professional development opportunities tend to be those who already have the highest levels of education. Competency modeling has been used to improve workforce capacity in a variety of other fields and it may offer promise as a means to professionalize the infant/toddler teacher and caregiver workforce. Given the state of the field, there has been a great deal of interest in developing, implementing, and assessing competencies to improve professional development pathways for the infant/toddler workforce. On January 4, 2017 a small expert meeting was held to explore this topic that brought together participants from industrial-organizational psychology, infant/toddler care and education, and from other professions that have developed competency models. The goal of the meeting was to identify next steps for research and evaluation related to competencies for infant/toddler teachers and caregivers, ultimately informing the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in its efforts to improve quality in infant/toddler care and education. (author abstract)
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