AMES, Iowa – The quality of care that children receive between birth and age five sets the stage for the rest of their lives. With that in mind, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers professional development for child care providers.
Participation in professional development is an important part of providing quality care and education. Research indicates a strong correlation between formal education and training of providers and quality early care and education for children. Iowa Department of Human Services regulations provide minimum standards for continuing education. Many Iowa initiatives encourage child care professionals to exceed the minimum professional development expectations.
“Early childhood professionals often work long hours and lead busy personal lives. By providing online courses, we give a convenient option to grow knowledge, expand skills and meet Iowa licensing requirements,” says Malisa Rader, a human sciences specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.
ISU Extension and Outreach human sciences subject matter experts offer online courses on a vast array of subjects including dealing with stress, STEM, literacy and guidance. Most courses are available to any early childhood professional, but some are specific to home providers, center staff and administrators.
“We continually receive positive feedback from participants that our online courses are engaging and allow providers to save on travel expenses and have dinner with their families,” said Rader, who specializes in family life issues.
Some courses are eligible for National Administrator Credential credit as well as Continuing Education Units. All courses are eligible for DHS credit, just like attending a face-to-face class. Through the use of polls, chat boxes and small group discussions, participants interact with peers as if they were meeting together in the same room.
“And they are -- it just happens to be a virtual room,” Rader said.
“One of our biggest partners in this work is Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral consultants. They have the direct relationship with home child care and center staff and can provide child care staff and directors guidance in how best to meet professional development goals. They also make suggestions to the ISU Extension and Outreach team for needed topics,” Rader said.
To see a listing of all current online options for early childhood professionals offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/humansciences/el-online.