The Babies First North Carolina (Babies First NC) Infant-Toddler Program Specialist team is excited to be moving into the implementation phase of the Babies First NC project. In 2019, 21 completed applications were submitted for the Babies First NC Project. After a detailed selection process, 11 5-star child care sites were selected to participate in the project. These 11 sites began the startup phase of the project. One of the child care sites made the difficult decision to close due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic leaving the project with ten operating sites.
The Babies First NC sites beginning the implementation phase are:
- Bonnie Sanders Burney Child Development Center in New Hanover County,
- Bambino’s Playschool in Wake County,
- Follow the Son Child Care Center Inc. in Pitt County,
- Kidds Place Child Development Center in Harnett County,
- Little Believers Academy in Johnston County,
- Little Believers Academy II in Wake County,
- Little Town Learning Center Inc. in Pender County,
- Sugar n Spice Preschool CCC Inc. in Vance County,
- Smiling Faces Child Care Center Inc. in Martin County, and
- Yates Baptist Child Development Center in Durham County.
In the implementation phase of the grant, Babies First NC Specialists will work with site administrators and teachers through intensive practice-based coaching that is focused on increasing high-quality infant, toddler and two-year-old care. Some of the high-quality enrichments that we will focus on are continued requirements for a 5-star license with a required higher level of teacher education; individualized child assessment and developmental monitoring; classroom observations using ITERS-R, ECERS-R and CLASS; regularly scheduled teacher preparation and planning time; enhanced parent engagement and communication activities; and intentional individual planning to support children’s development across all domains of learning.
All of our Babies First NC teachers will begin the implementation phase of Babies First by enrolling in the New Infant and Toddler Teacher Orientation (NITTO), state-approved training that was added to the Moodle platform through DCDEE for credit training hours of professional development, created by the NC Infant Toddler Quality Enhancement Project (ITQEP).
The Babies First NC Implementation phase is funded by a portion of the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5) managed through the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education.