Early Childhood Development and Learning
WestEd’s work is anchored in research that underscores the importance of a holistic, comprehensive approach to the development and learning of infants and toddlers.
Because healthy development in the early years pays off throughout one’s life, we strive to ensure families and early childhood professionals have the skills and resources necessary to give young children a safe, healthy, emotionally secure, and intellectually rich start.
The following featured resources, training opportunities, and technical assistance are designed to support early childhood educators and providers with the whole child in mind.
Supporting young children who may have experienced trauma
According to the American Psychological Association, approximately half the children in the nation experience some type of trauma during their childhood. Teachers, providers, and caregivers are needed who understand what the research says: trauma often has a lasting impact on children’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development.
Our Trauma-Informed Practices in Early Childhood professional learning is based on the most recent research and tailored specifically to the needs of the early childhood community. Participants learn how to use strategies that are sensitive to children who may have experienced trauma and that support children’s health, healing, resilience, and well-being.
Resource: WestEd staff interviewed dozens of researchers and practitioners to gain greater insight into how trauma-informed practices shape the work of experts and practitioners in the field, with results and key takeaways summarized in Trauma-Informed Practices from Prenatal to Young Adulthood: Voices from the Field.
Addressing the needs of children with disabilities
Starting with the adults who care for babies and toddlers, WestEd’s early intervention/early childhood teams promote understanding of how the social and cognitive dimensions of learning work together.
Through the California Early Intervention Technical Assistance Network, WestEd develops and implements a comprehensive system of personnel development for early intervention service providers addressing the needs of children with disabilities.
Resource: Developmental and Behavioral Screening Guide for Early Care and Education Providers is designed to increase awareness of and access to screening, services and supports, and referral resources that are available for California’s young children and their families.
Promoting responsive, caring relationships for infants and toddlers
The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC), developed collaboratively by WestEd and the California Department of Education, is a comprehensive training system that promotes responsive, caring relationships for infants and toddlers and employs evidence-based training materials and strategies for the early education field.
PITC is an integral part of the California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development System and has helped to establish California as a national leader in efforts to improve the quality of care and education for young children. PITC offers three services:
- Early Childhood Home Visiting Best Practices: Institutes and Customized Professional Learning
- Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) Trainer Institutes
- Program for Infant/Toddler Care: On-Site and Online Professional Learning for Providers — Partners for Quality
Resource: The Social Womb, written and narrated by J. Ronald Lally, Co-Director of WestEd’s Center for Child & Family Studies, is a 6-minute animated video that depicts why young brains need continuing nurturance, protection and enrichment once a child is born.
Encouraging social and emotional learning
The BABES Toolkit assists early childhood professionals to identify, and to help families address, areas in which their infants and toddlers may be exhibiting challenging behavior.
Spotlight on Young Children: Social and Emotional Development explores how teachers can use caring relationships, and their classroom practices, routines, and lessons to foster healthy behaviors in children, birth through third grade.
Working in partnership with families
The Structuring Meaningful Home-School Partnerships with Families of Young English Learner Students archived webinar presents a research-based framework for family engagement, discusses what young English learner students need to learn and be able to do, and detail promising practices for actively engaging families in this effort.
Stay tuned for more insights about early childhood education and development in our E-Bulletin and on social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Join WestEd at the NAEYC 2019 Annual Conference & Expo
WestEd staff will present at the NAEYC 2019 Annual Conference & Expo, November 20-23, Nashville, Tennessee. Be sure to check out our presentations and join us at our reception. Learn more.
Posted on November 13, 2019