In 2003, NYC CCR&R launched the city’s first broad-based, coordinated and coherent effort to improve care for children under the age of 3, in the form of a new Infant Toddler Resource Center. The new center, a joint initiative staffed and supported by the Consortium’s member agencies, provides training, professional development and technical assistance to early learning and care programs across the city, using a multi-ethnic and multilingual approach to introduce research-based practice.
The idea for the center sprang from emerging research which revealed the human brain grows at breakneck speed in the first three years of life. By the age of three, 85 percent of the brain’s capacity is in place, creating the ability to speak, learn and reason. Scientists also showed that early experiences greatly influence the trajectory of that growth, creating the foundations for lifelong learning and growth. Those findings galvanized early childhood experts and practitioners to take a closer look at infant-toddler care, now a critical source of early experiences for a growing number of children.
The creation of the New York Infant-Toddler Resource Center grew directly out of this national energy and agenda, and represents a broad-based, coordinated and coherent effort to improve care for children under the age of three in New York City.
Each of the four agencies contributes an infant toddler specialist to a team that drives the initiative forward, by providing the core expertise on research-based practice and by creating the appropriate materials, training, and technical assistance. The multi-agency, the multi-ethnic team underwent intensive joint training, in consultation with national
experts and researchers. The team prepares curricula, training and assessment materials in three languages, and has developed culturally-sensitive approaches to outreach. The center also makes strategic use of demographic data collected by the five agencies to target neighborhoods and programs serving the most at-risk babies and toddlers.
Shaping the future of care in New York City
The Resource Center provides a new models for innovation, one that is especially suited to New York City’s diverse communities and high proportion of babies living in poverty. This new framework has successfully introduced research-based practice in a manner that is both measurable, as well as culturally-competent enough to reach diverse audiences and settings serving the largest numbers of children under the age of 3. Here are several areas of impact: