New Graduate Certificate Aims to Improve Quality of Infant and Toddler Care

Starting in Fall 2018, professionals working with or on behalf of infants and toddlers and their families can receive advanced training and earn a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Leadership in Infant and Toddler Learning (LITL). The new certificate was created through a partnership of the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, Child Care Services Association and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). It will be piloted at UNCG.

The first cohort of LITL Certificate students includes professionals from a variety of roles such as Infant-Toddler Specialist, family child care provider, Early Head Start curriculum specialist, and infant-toddler teacher. The program is on-line and includes six courses that can be completed in as few as three semesters. The courses include advanced study in infant-toddler development, best practices for working with infants and toddlers and their families, assessment of infants and toddlers, leadership, and coaching/mentoring.

Research has shown that the infant-toddler period is particularly significant in terms of a child’s brain development and learning, and that high-quality caregiving experiences are essential to supporting optimal developmental outcomes. Although North Carolina has improved the the quality of care available to children prior to kindergarten entry, quality of care for infants and toddlers lags behind that for preschool-age children.

  • Significantly fewer infants and toddlers are enrolled in four- or five-star (the higher levels of quality) centers than preschoolers
  • Infant-toddler teachers have lower education (far fewer infant-toddler teachers have an Associates degree or higher (45 percent) than preschool teachers (69 percent)
  • Infant-toddler teachers have, on average, one and one-half years less experience working with children than preschool teachers.

Information about the Leadership in Infant and Toddler Learning Certificate is online.

Adapted with permission from a article by Child Care Services Association.

Watch our webinar on Who’s Caring for Our Babies? to learn more about that state of infant and toddler care in North Carolina.