January 3, 2008
Special Infant Toddler Training Now Available for Child Care Providers
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AUGUSTA – Parents in Maine soon will have an opportunity to choose a child care provider who has been specially trained in the care and education of infants and toddlers.
The Infant Toddler Credential was announced at the Fourth Annual Infant Toddler Awareness Day in the Hall of Flags today (January 3). The distinction, earned through Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development System, recognizes the provider’s completion of specialized training that prepares him/her to support the development of children under the age of 3 in the best way possible.
At the press conference that focused on the new initiative, Attorney General Rowe pointed out that 85 percent of brain development happens in the first three years. “It is critical for children at this age who need childcare to be with trained professionals,’’ Rowe said. “This new credential serves as a seal of approval of sorts. It tells parents that their providers have taken that extra step by completing formalized education, based on best-practices in education and child care today.”
Jessica Bickford from Bangor, a provider who is pursuing the credential, spoke about the importance of high-quality training. “For child care providers and for the children, it is a gift that keeps on giving,’’ Bickford said.
First Lady Karen Baldacci, who chairs Maine’s Children’s Cabinet and is a former Kindergarten teacher, values the commitment that has been made to Maine’s most important resource – its youngest citizens. An enhanced commitment was the theme of the recently held Governor’s Economic Summit on Early Childhood.
“Maine Roads to Quality is establishing a standard of care and it’s encouraging that providers are taking an opportunity to learn more,’’ the First Lady said. “Research shows that we currently focus so much energy and resources on the early years of school, but that by doing so, we’re behind the curve in terms of brain development. I encourage provides to seek this credential, so we can jump-start the learning process of Maine’s next generation.”
The Infant Toddler Awareness Day is sponsored each year by the Maine Infant Toddler Initiative Team. Its goal is to heighten awareness of the importance of high quality education for those who care for the state’s youngest citizens.