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Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework


The California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework (PDF; 4MB) was published by the California Department of Education in June 2012.

A companion curriculum framework for the California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations, this publication is aligned with the Preschool Curriculum Framework in both design and function. Together these frameworks support early childhood educators working in programs serving children birth to three years of age in implementing high-quality curriculum practices that lead to acquisition of the knowledge and skills described in the foundations.

The purpose of the Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework is to provide early childhood professionals with a structure they can use to make informed decisions about curriculum practices. The framework is based on current research on how infants and toddlers learn and develop in four domains described in the Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations—social-emotional, language, intellectual, and perceptual and motor development. It presents principles, a planning process, and strategies to assist teachers in their efforts to support children’s learning from birth to three years of age.

The Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework rests on four principles:

  1. The family is at the core of a young child’s learning and development. In light of their central role in a child’s early experience and development, family members need to participate in all aspects of curriculum planning.
  2. Infant/toddler development takes place in the context of relationships. Relationships provide children a secure emotional base from which to explore and learn. Much of the cognitive, language, social, and physical learning a child experiences occurs while interacting with an adult.
  3. The young child’s emotional state drives early learning and greatly influences learning in other domains. During the infancy period, children simultaneously exhibit both emotional vulnerability and learning competence. Adults planning curricula for infants and toddlers must always consider the emotional impact on the child (Greenspan).
  4. All young children, including children with disabilities or other special needs, benefit from access to high quality infant/toddler care programs. Providing interactions, experiences, and an environment that meet the individual needs of infant/toddler children with disabilities or other special needs can enrich the experiences of all young children in the program. 

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Questions:   Early Education Division | ELCDPublications@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, January 10, 2024
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