Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Annual Training and Practitioner Registry

Use your personal PR level expiration date to determine when your annual training needs to be complete. This ensures that your professional development follows you if you move to a different facility.  If you are associated to more than one facility at the same time, you will not have to try to fit your training into a “time window” based on the facility’s expiration date.
The training must be complete by the time your Practitioner Registry Level expires each year.
Staff that are counted in ratios and provide care to children.
Staff that work less than 500 hours per year will be exempt. Also, staff that work at facilities that are only approved to provide care to children ages 5 and up (ie: after school programs).
There is currently no fee associated with the Practitioner Registry.

Participation in the Montana Practitioner Registry will help you:

  • Count yourself as a professional in early childhood services in Montana.
  • Inform parents about your level of professional development as you make decisions about your fees for early care and education services.
  • Apply for new employment positions in early childhood programs or negotiate for a salary increase with your employer.
  • Validate and document the learning and training experiences in which you have participated.
  • Plan your future education and career goals.
  • Become eligible for incentives, awards, scholarships and grants.
In addition to the benefits listed above, the department is federally monitored and must track and report professional development training to the Federal Office of Child Care. Per CCDF requirements, Montana must show that 13 categories of health and safety training are completed within 90 days of hire, and that on-going health and safety training is completed by all child care staff in our state.
Everyone will be accepted at the membership level for the first year. After that, exemptions for existing child care professionals can be considered under special circumstances.

CPR/First Aid cards need to display the following information: 

  1. Course Date 
  2. Expiration date 
  3. Instructor name 
  4. Course content 
  5. Front and Back of card (if applicable) need to be uploaded
CPR and First Aid courses can be completed separately 
  1. First Aid can be completed online
  2. First Aid cards must include “Pediatric” effective 3/1/2021 
  3. CPR needs to meet the requirements of being completed in a “Hands on” setting and covering Adult, Child, and Infant modules.
  4. CPR cannot be completed in an online setting.

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Teacher Orientation Training

The following courses are required for orientation:

Within 30 days of hire:

Infant, Child, Adult CPR/First Aid Certification

  • Infant, Child, Adult CPR must be completed in a hands-on setting; online courses will not be approved.
  • First Aid Certification cards must state "Pediatric".

Infant Safety Essentials - 2 hours

Within 90 days hire:

New Staff Health & Safety Orientation - 6 hours

Together We Grow – 3 hours

Early Childhood Essentials – in person at local R & R

Every 3 years after completion of initial Orientation courses:

Health & Safety Review years (ex. Health & Safety Review 2019-2022) – 6 hours online

All staff in family/group, and center child care facilities that are counted in ratios and provide direct care to children. This means all new and existing Early Childhood Teachers including Lead Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Directors, and Substitute Teachers regardless of the number of hours per year.

  • Does not include foster-grandparents if they are not providing direct care or counted in ratios.
  • Does not include staff that provide specialty services to children but are not counted in ratios.
The following exemptions apply:
  • The Infant Safety Essentials course is not required for staff that work at facilities that provide care exclusively to children age 5 and over.
Staff must complete the 30-day orientation courses before they may be left alone in a room with the children in care. This means CPR/First aid and Infant Safety Essentials.
Some of the information in the shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma information applies to children over 2.

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Blankets for Sleeping Infants

As you may know, new changes to Montana rules now prohibit the use of blankets for infants under 12 months old.

Montana ARMs are guided by Caring for our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standard Guidelines for Child Care Facilities.

g) Soft or loose bedding should be kept away from sleeping infants and out of safe sleep environments. These include, but are not limited to: bumper pads, pillows, quilts, comforters, sleep positioning devices, sheepskins, blankets, flat sheets, cloth diapers, bibs, etc. Also, blankets/items should not be hung on the sides of cribs. Loose or ill-fitting sheets have caused infants to be strangled or suffocated (2).

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If you care for infants that are accustomed to sleeping with a light-weight blanket, you may continue to use a light-weight blanket for those infants until February 1, 2019. These blankets should be no heavier than a receiving blanket. New infants coming into the facility should be started without a blanket or should be started with a sleep sack that does not restrict the infant’s arms.

The department encourages the use of sleep sacks that do not constrict the infant’s arms. Infants should wear clothing that is warm enough for their environment but not too warm. Caring for our children guidelines warn against allowing infants to become too warm while sleeping.

(7) All pillows, quilts, comforters, heavy blankets, sheepskins, bumper pads, stuffed toys, and other soft products must be removed from the crib and play pen when an infant is laid down for sleep.
(a) Blankets of any weight must be removed when infants 12 months of age or under are laid down for sleep.
(b) Sleep sacks and similar safe sleep clothing may be used if the item does not restrict the infant's arms.
(c) Infants under 3 months of age may only be swaddled if medical documentation from a health care provider is on file at the facility.
(d) Infants over 3 months of age must not be swaddled.

Facilities that submit a written request may receive a conditional waiver for ARM 37.95.1005 (7)(a). The written request must:

  • include the basis for request such as significant hardship to the infants;
  • propose an alternative that is consistent with best practices in early childhood standards;
  • demonstrate that blankets used are light-weight and used in a way that meets the intent of the rule;
  • demonstrate that infants are directly observed by sight and sound during naptime. Lighting and location of the nap area must allow staff to have the ability to see and move a blanket if an infant becomes tangled or if the blanket covers the head.
  • agree to have each parent sign a form or policy stating that they are aware of national recommendations regarding blankets, aware that blankets of any weight can pose a strangulation or suffocation hazard, and allow the facility to use a light-weight blanket.
  • The facility has shown continuous compliance with safe sleep deficiencies.
  • A department signed copy of waiver terms must be posted by infant sleep area.