Essential Elements of Quality Infant-Toddler Programs

We studied effective infant and toddler early care and education programs as part of a project called Infant-Toddler Essential Elements. This project aimed to identify and promote these key elements across Minnesota and beyond. We summarized our findings in a report

The project’s premise was based on The 10 Essential Elements of Effective Early Care and Education Programs, by Arthur Reynolds, Ph.D., and Susan Neuman, Ed.D., produced for the 2006 Governor’s Summit. Where Reynolds and Neuman focused on preschool, our project focused on infant and toddler early care and education programs, serving children from birth to age three.

For the Infant-Toddler Essential Elements project, we:

  • Developed criteria for choosing two national experts on infant and toddler development who would approach the work with developmental and family strengths perspectives. The two national experts were Helen Raikes, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Charlyn Harper Browne, Ph.D., from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood.
  • Selected and oversaw the efforts of these national experts who evaluated current research and identified evidence-based program practices and features critical to the effectiveness of programs that serve infants and toddlers at risk.
  • Conducted discussions in collaboration with the Minnesota Departments of Education and Human Services to arrive at a consensus of essential elements.
  • Prepared a report and recommendations to the State of Minnesota summarizing the research, analyzing the findings, and defining the essential elements.

The project was funded by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and was a collaboration between MDE, the Minnesota Department of Human Services and CEED.


Essential Elements of Quality Infant-Toddler Programs – Final Report (June 29, 2012)

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