Nurturing Healthy Development in the Earliest Months

Due to a loss of support personnel, this course is not currently offered.

(Previous title: Parent-Infant Pathways: An Educator’s Guide to Providing Information and Support to New Parents)

Learn what research and evidence-based practices tell us about what newborns need for healthy development cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically in both the prenatal and early postpartum periods. Develop strategies for communicating and equipping new parents with the essential information and skills they’ll need to support their infant’s growth in all domains.

Please note: The course Premature Babies and Their Parents: Different Beginnings is not a pre-requisite. However, we do strongly encourage students to complete this course as well in order to better understand the differences between infants born full-term and those arriving prematurely.

View all online courses


Earn 20 clock hours

This course is not currently offered.

Required textbook

Pearson, J. (2016). Pathways to positive parenting: Helping parents nurture healthy development in the earliest month. Zero to Three.

This book can be purchased from Zero to Three. Please order in advance so that you have the book by the start date of the session.

Learning objectives

  • Gain an understanding of infant mental principles and their critical role in establishing a foundation for healthy development over the life course.
  • Prepare to help parents identify their infant’s communication cues and capabilities via common pathways associated with newborn behaviors and needs.
  • Learn how to empower parents, demonstrate support, and best address questions, thoughts, and concerns.
  • Explore how this information may be used in a variety of early childhood fields.

Who should register

  • Early educators
  • Early interventionists
  • Parent educators
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Allied health professionals
  • Other professionals would like to better understand early infant development, parent education, and parent-infant relationships

This online course is approved by the Minnesota Center for Professional Development to count toward career lattice steps. It also is approved by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) for their members (ICEA accepts a maximum of 24 clock hours per course).

What to expect

  • The course is instructor-led with feedback and interactions provided.
  • All activities and assignments for this course are asynchronous and online. Nothing takes place in real time.
  • You have access to the course site 24/7 and can fit your work on the course into your schedule.
  • Activities and assignments include readings, videos, discussion board, recording videos using an online tool called Flipgrid, and reflection papers.
  • You are expected to participate fully and abide by weekly submission due dates for assignments and activities.

Knowledge and competency areas

The early childhood competencies are those used by MN – ACHIEVE’s knowledge and competencies framework.

  • Child development and learning
  • Creating positive learning experiences
  • Promoting social and emotional development
  • Relationships with families
  • Observing, recording, and assessing development
  • Establishing healthy practices

Meet the instructor

Headshot of Jolene PearsonJolene Pearson

Jolene Pearson, PhD, IMH-E® (IV), holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Minnesota. She earned a BS from the University of Minnesota in child development, and an MS in early childhood from Wheelock College in Massachusetts. Jolene is an associate professor and the director of the early childhood education program at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. She has been an adjunct faculty member and instructor at the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, and St. Cloud State University, teaching courses in parent education, infant mental health, and early childhood special education. Dr. Pearson is a certified Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale examiner and holds licenses in the fields of parent education, early childhood education, and early childhood special education. She has authored a book, Pathways to Positive Parenting: Helping Parents Nurture Healthy Development in the Earliest Months (Zero to Three, 2016).

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation two weeks or earlier before the start of the session: Full refund less $25 administrative fee
  • Cancellation less than two weeks before the start of the session: No refund will be provided.

To cancel, send an email to Deborah Ottman.

CEED reserves the right to refuse/cancel a registration due to low enrollment, a prerequisite not completed, or other circumstances making the registration nonviable. In the event of a course cancellation, registrants have the option to receive a full refund OR to transfer the registration to the same course held in a future session. CEED will accept substitutions for attendees.


Contact Deborah Ottman, professional development coordinator.

Subscribe to updates