Occasional Paper Series

Issue 42: Promise in Infant-Toddler Care and Education

Adult and babyIntroduction
Infant-Toddler Care and Education:
Speaking Up for Young Children and Their Caregivers

Sharon Ryan and Virginia Casper

Much of the policy-and practice-focused research on infant-toddler care and education has been concerned with the issue of program quality. That is, what elements constitute a quality program for infants and toddlers that ensures their ongoing developmental success? Researchers have sought to identify the structural and process indicators necessary for young children to receive the kinds of responsive interactions that contribute to positive developmental outcomes.

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Guest Editors

Sharon Ryan is currently Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Graduate School of Education and a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Before undertaking graduate studies in the United States, she worked in the early childhood field in Australia as a preschool teacher, center director, consultant, curriculum advisor, and special educator. Dr. Ryan uses a range of mixed methods designs to research early childhood curriculum and policy and workforce issues including teacher education and professional development. Much of her research has focused on the implementation of publicly funded preschool in the state of New Jersey and she has published several reports, policy briefs, and papers looking at implementation issues from the perspectives of practitioners. In addition to her research, Dr. Ryan is Editor of the early childhood series of Teachers College Press and serves on a range of Editorial Advisory Boards. In the state of New Jersey, Dr. Ryan has been involved in various state committees and advisory roles including the state’s Early Learning Council, where she co-chaired the workforce development subcommittee for several years.

Virginia CasperVirginia Casper is a developmental psychologist and teacher educator. She served in instructional, administrative, and clinical roles in the Bank Street Graduate School of Education for over 30 years. As an early childhood educator, she has specialized in infant, toddler, and family development and is published widely in Zero-to-Three and other related publications. Dr. Casper also spent 10 years working internationally in education doing capacity- building work in China, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Liberia, and South Africa, specializing in community-based research and learning. She is also a co- author of Gay-Parents/Straight Schools: Building Communication and Trust (with Steven Schultz), and a textbook on early childhood education (with Rachel Theilheimer) entitled Early Childhood Education: Learning Together.