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Message from Kharma: Primary Caregiving

written by Kharma Hicks, Infant/Toddler Program Coordinator
At PIC we value offering high quality childcare and meeting the emotional needs of every child in our center. Particularly with infants and toddlers, we believe the development of a strong relationship between a child and a caregiver is an important component for healthy development.
With that in mind, we are moving towards a primary caregiving model, which is widely considered best practice in the early learning field. Primary care is designating one caregiver to each child, which encourages the development of close and trusting relationships between teachers, infants, and their families.
A child’s primary caregiver is responsible for the daily basic care routines, including feeding, diaper changes, small group interactions, and sharing information with families. This designated teacher cares for a small group of children within the classroom.
One of the key factors is that primary caregiving sets up a system of meaningful interactions and lasting relationships. It is important because it allows for infants and young toddlers to develop a secure attachment to one caregiver, similar to an at-home experience. This model builds trust between the child and teacher, where children quickly feel that their needs will be met and that they are safe.
Practice shows that primary caregiving works best within a solid team of teachers. While every teacher has his or her own group of children, the teaching team works together to meet the needs of all of the children in the classroom. Having a team approach allows for a seamless shift in care for lunch breaks, vacations, or when teachers have a day off. Although a child may form a stronger attachment to one particular teacher, they are very much familiar with the other teachers in the classroom. It is a dynamic and flexible approach to care.
In each of our infant and toddler classrooms there is a chart listing the children and their primary caregiver. To learn more about this strategy of care or if you don’t know who your child’s primary caregiver is, please talk with your lead teacher. If you want to know more, please don't hesitate to send me an email or stop by my office in the Spruce Building on the 2nd / toddler level.