Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age is intended for use by anyone who lives or works with infants or young children. The Guidelines can be used as a reference guide, or as a resource for planning daily or weekly activities. When used appropriately, the Guidelines can be a valuable part of a comprehensive high quality system of services for young children, contributing to young children’s educational experiences and to their future success.
Educators can use the indicators within the Guidelines to identify activities that will support a child’s development and the examples to determine if the child has met the indicator. Educators can also determine a starting point for children’s development by identifying behaviors or actions that a child is already displaying and can then use activities and examples from the Guidelines to develop plans that support the child’s progress to the next indicator. In this way, child care and early learning programs can support learning regardless of the child’s chronological age.
The Guidelines encourage educators to keep in mind that not all children develop at the same rate. They also state that caregivers can and should plan activities that meet the needs of each particular child in their care. Additionally, the Guidelines promote that everyone involved in a child’s care should communicate daily about the child’s activities, interests, and development, maintaining open communication and being sensitive to the child’s and family’s needs.