Influences on U.S. Higher Education Programs Educating the Infant-Toddler Workforce

  • Rachel Chazan-CohenEmail author
  • Claire Vallotton
  • Tamesha Harewood
  • Martha Buell
Part of the Policy and Pedagogy with Under-three Year Olds: Cross-disciplinary Insights and Innovations book series (Policy pedagogy under-three year olds)


In this paper we introduce the Collaborative for Understanding the Pedagogy of Infant/toddler Development (CUPID), a multi-disciplinary group of more than 50 scholars across 28 U.S. colleges and universities who have joined together in a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) effort to understand how to better support the professional needs of the infant/toddler workforce. One of the goals of CUPID is to make visible key issues faced by institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the U.S. in addressing the training of the infant/toddler workforce. Challenges facing those in higher education include the U.S. policy context, and the federal and state structures for supporting and credentialing the infant/toddler workforce. This work is made more challenging by the historical context of the field, and by the changing views on the goals for early care and education including the call for increased educational qualifications for teachers.

Because of the growing recognition of the importance of the first 3 years as a distinct developmental period characterized by rapid brain development and the potential to promote long-term child well-being, many nations are increasingly concerned about the training and education of the infant/toddler workforce. There are many pathways to professionalization of the workforce, including pre-service and in-service credentialing and professional development activities (Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Research Council (NRC) (2015) Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: a unifying foundation. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC). In this chapter we focus on one pathway: obtaining a post-secondary bachelors degree. Specifically, we outline key issues faced by institutions of higher education (IHEs) in the U.S. in addressing the development of the infant/toddler workforce (In this chapter we define infants/toddlers as children from birth to 36 months, as is commonly done in the U.S. We refer to the individuals working with this age group as teachers, or as members of the workforce). In this chapter we describe the U.S. policy context, starting with an international perspective, then focusing on U.S. federal and state structures for credentialing the infant/toddler workforce, as well as national policies and programs that influence the approaches of IHEs to preparing this teaching workforce.


Child Care Early Childhood Education Head Start Early Education Early Childhood Program 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Chazan-Cohen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claire Vallotton
    • 2
  • Tamesha Harewood
    • 2
  • Martha Buell
    • 3
  1. 1.Collge of Eduction and Human DevelopmentUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.University of DelawareNewarkUSA

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