Standards for Professional Practice
Ethical standards and best practices are the core of professionalism in consultation.
The Connecticut Early Education Consultation Network offers standards of professional
and ethical practice to guide its members toward successful conduct of
early childhood education consultation.
Consultation requires the exchange of information, collaboration, and mutual understanding
between all parties involved in a philosophical and cultural context and when done properly,
results in an open and trusting relationship.
All stakeholders should be included throughout the consultative process and
all decisions should be made in the best interests of children and families.
Commitment to business integrity, clients, families, and to the profession should be
demonstrated through specific ethical and effective practices and dispositions.
These standards for Professional Practice are consistent with national standards for the role of early childhood education consultant as defined in Caring for Our Children – National Health and Safety Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs as issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Standard 188.8.131.52: Early Childhood Education Consultants (Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition)
A facility should engage an early childhood education consultant who will visit the program at minimum semi-annually and more often as needed. The consultant must have a minimum of a Baccalaureate degree and preferably a master’s degree from an accredited institution in early childhood education, administration and supervision, and a minimum of three years in teacher and administration of an early care/education program. The facility should develop a written plan for the consultation which must be signed annually by the consultant. This plan should outline the responsibilities of the consultant and the services the consultant will provide to the program.
The knowledge base of an early childhood education consultant should include:
a. Working knowledge of theories of child development and learning for children from birth through eight years
across domains, including socio-emotional development and family development;
b. Principles of health and wellness across the domains, including social and emotional wellness and approaches in
the promotion of healthy development and resilience;
c. Current practices and materials available related to screening, assessment, curriculum, and measurement of child
outcomes across the domains, including practices that aid in early identification and individualizing for a wide
range of needs;
d. Resources that aid programs to support inclusion of children with diverse health and learning needs and families
representing linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity of communities;
e. Methods of coaching, mentoring, and consulting that meet the unique learning styles of adults;
f. Familiarity with local, state, and national regulations, standards, and best practices related to early education and
g. Community resources and services to identify and serve families and children at risk, including those related to
child abuse and neglect and parent education;
h. Consultation skills as well as approaches to working as a team with early childhood consultants from other
disciplines, especially child care health consultants, to effectively support program directors and their staff.
The role of the early childhood education consultant should include:
a. Review of the curriculum and written policies, plans and procedures of the program;
b. Observations of the program and meetings with the director, caregivers/teachers, and parents/guardians;
c. Review of the professional needs of staff and program and provision of recommendations of current resources;
d. Reviewing and assisting directors in implementing and monitoring evidence based approaches to classroom
e. Maintaining confidences and following all Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations
f. Keeping records of all meetings, consultations, recommendations and action plans and offering/providing
summary reports to all parties involved;
g. Seeking and supporting a multidisciplinary approach to services for the program, children and families;
h. Following the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Code of Ethics;
i. Availability by telecommunication to advise regarding practices and problems;
j. Availability for on-site visit to consult to the program;
k. Familiarity with tools to evaluate program quality, such as the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale–Revised
(ECERS–R), Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale–Revised (ITERS–R), Family Child Care Environment
Rating Scale–Revised (FCCERS–R), School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS), Classroom
Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), as well as tools used to support various curricular approaches.
RATIONALE: The early childhood education consultant provides an objective assessment of a program and essential knowledge about implementation of child development principles through curriculum which supports the social and emotional health and learning of infants, toddlers and preschool age children (1-5). Furthermore, utilization of an early childhood education consultant can reduce the need for mental health consultation when challenging behaviors are the result of developmentally inappropriate curriculum (6,7). Together with the child care health consultant, the early childhood education consultant offers core knowledge for addressing children’s healthy development.
TYPE OF FACILITY: Small Family Child Care Home, Center, Large Family Child Care Home
The purpose of these standards is to guide the development of mindful practitioners
who are thoughtful, purposeful, reflective, and ethical in their consultative role.
It is not only specialized knowledge that is important in consultation,
but also the dispositions of consultants that make them effective in their work.
Dispositions are the vehicle for conveying specialized knowledge.
The following dispositions were adopted by the network from the Iowa Dispositions Model.
Iowa Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Dispositions Team. 2008
The Iowa dispositions model: a framework for developing effective teacher dispositions.
Present: Is keenly engaged in interactions and observations.
Responsive: Is inclined to act as best meets the needs, subtle as well as obvious, of others and their circumstances. Responsiveness can be demonstrated quickly in a conversation or over time by providing follow-up resources as needed.
Attentive: Pays attention to all aspects of communication and applies active listening techniques such as paraphrasing what the other person has said to ensure clear understanding.
Collaborative: Involves and works with others in planning, problem solving, and implementing effective practices.
Vocal: Is willing to openly engage and respond to peers, practitioners, administrators, and community.
Reflective: Takes time consistently to evaluate effectiveness of consultation and behavior in terms of the larger goals of consultation; nurtures reflectivity in practitioners; reflects on own growth and accountability.
Enterprising: Exhibits a willingness to pursue solutions to problems or question; gathers relevant data and persistently seeks to improve situations or areas of need.
Open-Minded: Exhibits an ability to look at different sides of an issue; recognizes the possibility of error in one’s own beliefs and practices’ does not display or act upon prejudices against people or ideas. Effective: Nurtures high expectations; demonstrates self-direction and confidence; encourages others to display their own skills and strengths.
Modest: Places the needs of the client or learner/learning task above own ego; reflects on own growth and accountability.
Flexible: Adapts, adjusts, and modifies practices to meet the needs of those with whom she/he is consulting; thinks on his/her feet and is comfortable with change.
Inventive: Uses the interests, preferences, and needs of clients and families to collaboratively design multiple strategies to support teacher practice, and visualizes and supports implementation of novel ideas and practices.
Resourceful: Identifies and uses resources in effective ways; adapts practices to unforeseen challenges; helps practitioners find and use resources and informal supports.
Resilient: Endures stress and maintains stability in the face of disruption and chaos; recovers poise or spirit that enables moving forward in an effective manner.
Professional: Meets the standards expected of a professional, such as appropriateness of dress, grooming, demeanor, punctuality, tact, discretion, and courtesy.
Ethical and Principled: Adheres strongly to personal and professional morals, principles, and ethical standards established by the profession, for example, the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct; and standards of specialized organizations and associations; evidences integrity.
Responsible and Reliable: Conducts work and related tasks in a reliable, thorough, and efficient manner; has strong work ethic.
Discreet: Complies with Federal, State, and program policies relating to confidentiality.
Objective: Fosters and enhances the teaching and learning process while exercising judgment about personal and professional boundaries; displays genuineness.
Empathic: Identifies with and sees things from the perspective of others.
Compassionate: Sympathizes, often with a desire to understand and help improve conditions of others lives.
Understanding: Develops appropriate relationships.
Respectful: Shows appropriate regard for the needs, ideas, and experiences of others.
Passionate: Demonstrates excitement, enthusiasm, and optimism for the people, content, and context of the consulting-teaching- learning process.
Culturally Competent: Appreciates and capitalizes upon diversity; is aware of and acts to reduce one’s own biases; employs culturally sensitive strategies.
Standards and Practices
for Early Childhood Education Consultants
Developed by the Advisory Committee and Membership of CEECN, January 2008
A. Commitment to the Profession
1. practice and uphold the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct by
a. referring to the Code when consultation practices are questioned
b. embedding principles and references to the Code in consultation and training
2. distinguish between the roles of consultant, coach, mentor, advisor, and trainer and identify ourselves in only
those roles where we have training and expertise by
a. knowing the differences in those roles as defined by the NAEYC and NACCRRA Training and Technical
b. defining the differences in those roles to clients
c. disclosing our training, expertise, and experience in those roles to clients
3. seek professional development on established standards of practice, regulations, accreditation and national and
state initiatives in early care and education. Know curriculum development across all domains of development,
within a variety of curricular systems, to meet the needs of children with a wide range of needs and abilities by
a. attending meetings and forums presented by state agencies to inform consultants
b. including current knowledge with related professional development on a resume
c. attending advanced training specific to state curriculum standards
d. applying Scientifically Research-Based Intervention strategies (SRBI/RTI)
4. hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree (and preferably a Master’s degree) from an accredited institution of
higher education in early childhood education or a related field with a full breadth of coursework in child
development, early childhood education, administration and supervision in addition to substantial experience in
teaching and administration of an early care/education program by
a. listing these qualifications on a resume to make them visible to consumers
b. creating and following a professional development plan to attain optimal qualifications over time
5. attend continuing education to the degree necessary to keep current with research and development and deepen
understanding of the field by
a. attending non-credit professional development activities, and/or
b. attending credit-bearing courses that are based on research and development specific to child development,
early childhood education, and/or adult learning, and
c. regularly reading scholarly literature and research
6. define our own limits of expertise, as well as philosophical and cultural orientations by
a. disclosing them to prospective or current clients as relevant to the work being asked to do
7. learn and implement adult learning and change management theory by
a. attending pre-service training, prior to providing training or coaching
b. attending in-service training to build skills and knowledge
8. respect that implementing change is a process requiring a flexible time frame that is reasonable and comfortable
and requires training and support as a process in itself by
a. setting goals and creating action plans with clients that take into consideration their level of experience and
education, time frames, expectations, and other relevant individual needs
b. observing, responding to, and adjusting for individual needs as work progresses
c. demonstrating empathy for those in process of changing practice and providing individualized support through
9. incorporate evidence-based practices in all interactions and support services by
a. knowing, referencing, advocating for, and implementing the recommended best practices of significant agencies,
professional associations, and scholarly publications that impact the early care and education field, including
but not limited to local departments of education, health, and social services, Caring for Our Children, NAEYC,
Zero-to-Three, Council for Exceptional Children Division of Early Childhood, US Department of Health and
Human Services, National Institute for Out of School Time, and the National After School Association.
10. respect differences in perspective and expectations and allow for reflection and discussion to reach appropriate
a. identifying and clarifying where the differences exist
b. sharing perspectives and where they come from
c. listening to the needs and goals of differing parties and designing ways to blend or modify needs and opinions
in such a way that meets the needs of children and families without compromising quality or ethical practice
d. maintaining a disposition of compassion, flexibility, and open-mindedness
11. seek supervision or peer consultation as necessary to practice consultation objectively and ethically when we
encounter challenges by
a. regularly networking with colleagues who have practice concerns in common and/or who have experience and
expertise in a similar role
b. creating or joining professional networks or associations of consultants in order to access educational
materials, professional support, and contact with colleagues
B. Commitment to Children, Families, and Communities
1. uphold and educate families and communities on developmentally appropriate practice within the field of early
childhood education by
a. referring to Developmentally Appropriate Practice when providing consultation or training to families
b. suggesting to programs ways to make the benefits of DAP visible to families
c. calling attention to and educating teachers, administrators, and families about DAP when necessary to improve
2. respect diverse family and community cultures by
a. seeking information on cultural diversity through professional development, reading, and coursework so that
our work is done with cultural understanding and without bias or stereotyping
b. listening to and adjusting for the individual cultural customs and practices of families when making
recommendations and providing consultation or training
c. remaining flexible and accommodating even when to do so is inconsistent with our own personal values and
3. collaborate with community agencies by
a. knowing community services available to families and providing referrals to clients as needed
b. planning and cooperating in order to effectively blend services between consultants from different agencies and
4. advocate for children’s rights and needs, including protection from neglect and abuse by acting within the
requirements of mandated reporting by
a. immediately acting on observation or report of negligent or abusive act of any adult by informing the client and
appropriate child protection service according to the regulations of the state, even if it threatens the relationship
between consultant and client
5. work with other consultants in order to provide comprehensive and coordinated services to children, families, and
clients. Whenever possible use a interdisciplinary approach to services by
a. knowing and networking with local service providers in the areas of early intervention, special education, social
services, health and welfare, and child protective services in a collaborative manner
b. networking with consultants across the disciplines of social service, health, and mental health to understand
complimentary and supplementary services to educational consultation
C. Commitment to Business Integrity
1. develop written contracts to clients that specify terms of service, roles and responsibilities, definition of scope of
work, fees, termination of agreement, limits of liability, expectations for communication, and insurance coverage
and is signed and dated by both parties – and work with the client in developing a contract and plan of services
specific to the setting.
2. carry adequate liability insurance.
3. disclose all possible conflicts of interest to the client by
a. identifying when the consultant is providing services to other programs that might be seen as competition
b. identifying personal relationships with personnel or families where services will be provided
4. keep confidential all matters of the client, staff, families, and children as well as follow HIPPA regulations
5. record all consultative services offered and provide to the client summary reports of discussions,
recommendations, and action plans by
a. maintaining logs and written progress reports and submitting them in a timely manner
6. expect clients to inform consultant of program needs and outcomes regarding licensing investigations and
violations requiring corrective action by
a. stating such expectations in contracts
b. defining how such issue may affect a consultant’s work
7. provide the opportunity for both clients and consultants to evaluate the effectiveness of consultation services either
periodically or at the close of a project by
a. providing the materials and time to complete an evaluation
b. self-assessing the effectiveness of the services provided
c. providing feedback or engaging in reflection with clients regarding ways to improve or build upon the quality
and success of consultation services
D. Commitment to Clients
1. base consultation on regulation and established standards as issued by national and state professional
organizations and agencies as well as program philosophy by
a. clearly distinguishing advice and recommendations that are based on experience or opinion from those that are
research-based or recognized best practice
b. citing references to professional and scholarly documents when making recommendations
c. sharing documents and resources regarding regulation and established standards with clients
2. define to clients the role of consultant to distinguish it from coach, trainer, or adviser and
b. align practice with those roles
c. clearly differentiate the function and limits of each role even if fulfilled by a single individual
3. implement a consultation process that includes relationship development, assessment, action planning, plans for
sustainability, training, and resources at a pace that is comfortable for the client by
a. providing such specifics in writing prior to beginning a project
b. collaboratively planning work with clients, respecting their needs and preferences, level of experience, and
tolerance for stress
c. reviewing for approval by the client any action plan prior to its implementation
4. educate clients about consultative practices including limits of authority and client choice by
a. stating the circumstances for the consultative services when they are assigned or mandatory
b. stating what information, if any, will have to be reported and to whom as well as under what circumstances
c. review with the client when consultation services are mandatory and when they are by choice
5. inform clients about funding sources for consultation and education as applicable by
a. disclosing to clients any resources or funding sources that would benefit them in obtaining consultation services
even if it risks a loss of business
b. knowing grant availability, funding streams, and available resources for consultation
c. being willing to provide services by contracting through another agency if it is at cost benefit to the client
6. be accessible by phone, email, and in person to provide needed consultation services by
a. informing clients of office hours, contact information, and availability to provide services at the time of
b. accepting only those clients whose needs can be accommodated by the consultant’s schedule of availability
7. establish a client-consultant relationship based on common philosophical and cultural beliefs and disclose limits of
abilities and expertise by
a. clearly identifying potential differences in beliefs or lack of experience in a particular philosophy prior to
agreeing to work
b. defining exactly the limitations of experience and expertise and how they will impact the work
c. defining the potential advantages and disadvantages of collaboration where there are differences in philosophy
and/or cultural beliefs
8. facilitate the quality enhancement process based on agreed upon goals, and build on what the client already
a. identifying first the strengths and successes of a program or individual
b. linking quality improvement needs to a program’s strengths
c. focusing on the current needs identified by the program, even if it means refraining from addressing other needs
observed by the consultant
d. writing action plans collaboratively
9. refer client to outside resources when expertise is needed in a subject area outside our own by
a. disclosing to the client the limits of expertise and experience and how it might impact work
b. declining work that is outside of or beyond the consultant’s knowledge and expertise
c. assisting the client in finding needed expertise
d. working collaboratively with outside resources as necessary to benefit the client and provide continuity between