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Frequently asked questions
What Is an Early Childhood Coach?
An early childhood coach is a professional who works directly with early childhood educators—including teachers, infant and toddler early care and learning providers, supervisors and directors—to build capacity for continuous quality improvement. As stated by the
Colorado Coaching Consortium
Colorado Coaching Competencies
, “Coaching is a learning process based on a collaborative relationship that is intentionally designed to promote sustainable growth in the necessary attitudes, skills, and knowledge to effectively implement the best practices for the development of young children and their families (2009).”
A coaches' work with their coachee can include:
Mutual goal setting and planning
Observing educator practices in the education setting
Modeling research-based practices
Providing informational feedback
Analyzing program data (e.g.
Collaborative progress monitoring
Studies have shown coaching to be one of the most effective ways to support adult educators in learning new knowledge and skills (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Coaching is nondirective, goal-oriented, and solution-focused (Rush and Sheldon, 2020). While coaching interactions may include aspects of consultation, technical assistance or other problem solving approaches, relationships that consist mostly of these approaches are not considered coaching according to the requirements of the Colorado Coaching Credential.
To support coaches in their work, they participate in reflective practices to enhance their own reflective capacity. Credentialed coaches engage in reflective supervision/consultation, which is described by Gilkerson & Shamoon-Shanok as, “the process of examining, with someone else, the thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions evoked in the course of working closely with young children and their families. The essential features of this supervisory relationship are reflection, collaboration, and regularity of occurrence (2000).” This form of ongoing professional development supports the emotional resilience of early childhood coaches and the ability to work effectively with the diverse population of colleagues and families the coach serves (University of MN, 2019).