I-Consult is a professional development system supporting consultants employed by Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral. Child Care Consultants work closely with early childhood programs to identify program strengths and problem solve challenges. They are a valuable resource to help improve the quality of care for Iowa’s children.
I-Consult offers three educational programs for consultants, through partnership with the Department of Human Services.
Effective consultation is a critical support for quality teaching and caregiving in early childhood programs. The I-Consult Consultation Essentials program supports Child Care Consultants during their first year of employment. New consultants participate in four orientation workshops focused on the core skills identified as essential for effective consultation. They also complete learning activities between workshops with the support of a mentor from their agency. These learning activities create the opportunity for consultants to reflect and build upon their current practices.
After being employed for at least one year, consultants participate in the I-Consult Credentialing program. Through this credentialing process, consultants build on the core skills learned through the Consultation Essentials program. Each consultant who participates in the credentialing program is supported by a mentor from their agency or Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Consultants reflect upon, document, and demonstrate their skills in consultation in four content areas by linking their practices to the I-Consult competencies. They participate in four credentialing workshops, develop a professional portfolio, and receive feedback from their mentor and clients regarding their practice.
The I-Consult Mentor Credentialing program prepares consultants to be a peer mentor to other consultants. Consultants who choose to pursue their Mentor Credential, develop coaching skills in the areas of observation, supporting reflection, giving feedback and joint planning. Consultants participate in four mentor credentialing workshops, develop a professional portfolio, and work in partnership with Iowa State University to mentor a consultant working towards their Consultation Credential. Through the development of these skills, mentors provide strong support for other consultants in their agencies.