The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) is cospon-
sored by the California Department of Education and WestEd,
a nonprofit organization that promotes research, evaluation,
and professional development to improve education and
human development. PITC supports high-quality programs
by providing parents and caregivers with standards of care.
Its mission is to ensure that infants and toddlers receive safe,
emotionally and intellectually rich care. Like NAEYC, PITC
offers recommendations covering six programs for infants
and toddlers: primary care, small groups, individualized care, continuity, cultural
responsiveness, and inclusion of children with special needs (PITC, accessed 2012).
The PITC website is www.pitc.org.
Primary care is a best practice widely recognized in child care. It includes feeding,
changing diapers, rocking, soothing, talking, and engaging the child. Each child
should be assigned one primary caregiver. Primary caregivers are assigned several chil-
dren to care for, based on the ratio of adults to children in their program. Although
they interact with all children in the setting, primary caregivers’ main responsibility
is to provide the primary, personalized care for their assigned children.
Those with whom children spend considerable time but who are not the primary
caregiver are termed secondary caregivers. Primary caregivers coordinate the care of-
fered by these other professionals so that children are treated consistently. Primary
caregivers must communicate effectively with the rest of the caregiving team so all
children receive optimal care and reach their next developmental milestones.
When young children reach designated milestones or specific ages, they are typi-
cally promoted to the next level of care. Many centers, however, are starting to
embrace the concept continuity of care, in which children remain together as a cohort.
Caregiving and the Early Childhood Professional