Benefits of Primary Caregiving: Essential Policy of Early Childhood Caregiving Curriculum

“Will using a primary caregiver system in the Toddler/Twos classroom result in a more positive experience for teachers, students and families?” This question prompted my research into primary caregiver systems. A primary caregiving system is an early childhood program policy in which the care of each individual child is assigned to one specific teacher who is principally responsible for that child’s care. All of the early childhood education texts that I have read in preparation for my position as the Director of ECP include primary caregiving as a fundamental part of providing exceptional care to infants and toddlers.

Further reading with a focus on primary caregiver systems provided a rationale for this principle of early childhood education.

Several themes emerged:

  1. Infants and toddlers are competent learners with their own agendas.
  2. Young children need to develop trusting relationships and secure attachments to thrive.
  3. Relationships between caregivers and children are nurtured and strengthened through care routines.
  4. Primary caregiver systems create environments that foster trust and meaningful relationships and thus develop and strengthen secure attachments.
  5. Primary caregiver systems need the support of a competent team to be successful.
  6. Primary caregiver systems foster positive relationships between teachers and the families of the children in their care.

Synthesizing all that I have read has lead me to begin considering ways to incorporate primary caregiving into the current structure of the Early Childhood Program. Currently we do not have a policy of primary caregiving and each teacher assumes responsibility for the whole group, sharing and rotating through care routines. Exploring a new system would change the way we currently work together so it is important that everyone understands the reason and probable benefits of such a change.

In addition to sharing research with the ECP teachers, the next steps are to set up a study within the Toddler classroom including the collection of meaningful data that will inform our practice and possible changes.

Follow my research progress here on Medium.