Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.3 Pre-service Qualifications

1.3.2 Caregiver’s/Teacher’s and Other Staff Qualifications Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Birth to Thirty-Five Months of Age

Caregivers/teachers should be prepared to work with infants and toddlers and, when asked, should be knowledgeable and demonstrate competency in tasks associated with caring for infants and toddlers:

  1. Diapering and toileting;
  2. Bathing;
  3. Feeding, including support for continuation of breastfeeding;
  4. Holding;
  5. Comforting;
  6. Practicing safe sleep practices to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (3);
  7. Providing warm, consistent, responsive caregiving and opportunities for child-initiated activities;
  8. Stimulating communication and language development and pre-literacy skills through play, shared reading, song, rhyme, and lots of talking;
  9. Promoting cognitive, physical, and social emotional development;
  10. Preventing shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma;
  11. Promoting infant mental health;
  12. Promoting positive behaviors;
  13. Setting age-appropriate limits with respect to safety, health, and mutual respect;
  14. Using routines to teach children what to expect from caregivers/teachers and what caregivers/teachers expect from them.

Caregivers/teachers should demonstrate knowledge of development of infants and toddlers as well as knowledge of indicators that a child is not developing typically; knowledge of the importance of attachment for infants and toddlers, the importance of communication and language development, and the importance of nurturing consistent relationships on fostering positive self-efficacy development.

To help manage atypical or undesirable behaviors of children, caregivers/teachers, in collaboration with parents/guardians, should seek professional consultation from the child’s primary care provider, an early childhood mental health professional, or an early childhood mental health consultant.

The brain development of infants is particularly sensitive to the quality and consistency of interpersonal relationships. Much of the stimulation for brain development comes from the responsive interactions of caregivers/teachers and children during daily routines. Children need to be allowed to pursue their interests within safe limits and to be encouraged to reach for new skills (1-7).
Since early childhood mental health professionals are not always available to help with the management of challenging behaviors in the early care and education setting early childhood mental health consultants may be able to help. The consultant should be viewed as an important part of the program’s support staff and should collaborate with all regular classroom staff, consultants, and other staff. Qualified potential consultants may be identified by contacting mental health and behavioral providers in the local area, as well as accessing the National Mental Health Information Center (NMHIC) at
mhlocator/ and Healthy Child Care America (HCCA) at
Center, Early Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS General Qualifications of Directors Mixed Director/Teacher Role Qualifications of Lead Teachers and Teachers Qualifications for Assistant Teachers, Teacher Aides, and Volunteers Initial Orientation of All Staff Orientation for Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs Orientation Topics First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff Topics Covered in Pediatric First Aid Training Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Swimming and Water Play Continuing Education for Directors and Caregivers/Teachers in Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes Continuing Education for Small Family Child Care Home Caregivers/Teachers Training of Staff Who Handle Food Child Abuse and Neglect Education Training on Occupational Risk Related to Handling Body Fluids Education of Center Staff Training Time and Professional Development Leave Payment for Continuing Education Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants Safe Sleep Practices and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)/SIDS Risk Reduction General Plan for Feeding Infants Responsive Feeding of Infants by a Consistent Caregiver/Teacher Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Human Milk Feeding Human Milk to Another Mother’s Child Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Infant Formula Use of Soy-Based Formula and Soy Milk Feeding Cow’s Milk Techniques for Bottle Feeding Warming Bottles and Infant Foods Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment Used for Bottle Feeding Introduction of Age-Appropriate Solid Foods to Infants Feeding Age-Appropriate Solid Foods to Infants
  1. Shore, R. 1997. Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York: Families and Work Inst.
  2. National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs, National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. 2007. A science-based framework for early childhood policy: Using evidence to improve outcomes in learning, behavior, and health for vulnerable children.
  3. Moon, R. Y., T. Calabrese, L. Aird. 2008. Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in child care and changing provider practices: Lessons learned from a demonstration project. Pediatrics 122:788-98.
  4. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn the signs. Act early.
  6. Shonkoff, J. P., D. A. Phillips, eds. 2000. From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
  7. Cohen, J., N. Onunaku, S. Clothier, J. Poppe. 2005. Helping young children succeed: Strategies to promote early childhood social and emotional development. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures; Zero to Three.