Teaching Practices

Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers

Part 1 of this two-part paper, Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers, focuses on the importance of individualization and includes relevant Head Start Program Performance Standards. Discover some considerations for individualizing care and program structures and practices that support staff in doing this important work. The paper includes a bibliography and related resources, and questions you can use with staff and program management in your program.

Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers – Part 2 focuses on the "how" of individualizing care. It enables staff to respond thoughtfully to each child and family's interests, abilities, and needs. This is the process of:

  • Observing and documenting
  • Reflecting, interpreting, and planning
  • Implementing
  • Reflecting and evaluating

Both parts complement the technical assistance paper, Child Observation: The Heart of Individualizing Responsive Care for Infants and Toddlers.

Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers – Part 1

When programs ensure high-quality individualized care, it can lead to positive outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their families. This high-quality care happens when teachers, home visitors, and family child care providers understand and embrace the “why” and “what” of individualization. Program structures and practices must also be in place to support staff in planning for and providing individualized care. How individualization is promoted and carried out will differ from program to program. When all pieces are in place, it can make all the difference for each child’s well-being and success in school and in life.

Individualizing Care for Infants and Toddlers – Part 2

Individualizing care for each infant and toddler results from observing, reflecting, interpreting, and planning. Teachers, home visitors, and family child care providers who become skilled in these activities are better prepared to understand and support their learning and development. As staff become more intentional in their individualization practices, they see more chances to plan for learning experiences that nurture adult-child relationships and support family input. This intentional individualized care is the path to positive learning and life outcomes for very young children and their families. Note: This resource is under review.

Topic:Teaching Practices


Resource Type: Article

Age Group: Infants and Toddlers

Last Updated: November 13, 2019