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Credentials > Coaching Credential > Reflective Supervision

What is Reflective Supervision?

Early childhood coaches participate in reflective practices to enhance their own reflective capacity. Credentialed coaches in Colorado engage in at least 25 hours of reflective supervision/consultation every three years to renew their Colorado Coaching Credential. Reflective supervision/consultation 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). 

For coaches to be effective and efficient in the limited time they have with each coachee, it is essential that they are supported to grow and learn as coaches. Reflective supervision/consultation improves individual practice for coaches and teachers and increases program quality for children and families (Scott Heller & Gilkerson, 2009). A current study of Early Childhood Coaches in Colorado indicates that quality RS/C was one of the highest valued supports and changed coaching practice (Soli, Bultinck, & Daily, 2017). Reflective supervision/consultation supports an effective early childhood coaching workforce who can, in turn, support early childhood educators to ensure children thrive.

Who Can Provide Reflective Supervision/Consultation?

Prior to providing reflective supervision/consultation the facilitator must receive two full days (12+ hours) of training specific to facilitating reflective supervision/consultation. The Office of Early Childhood and the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health offer an approved two-day training. 

How Do I Find a Facilitator for Reflective Supervision/Consultation?

Across Colorado, 34 Early Childhood Councils (ECCs) serve as hubs in their local communities to improve access to high quality services, including coaching and RS/C. Connect with your local ECC to find a facilitator of reflective supervision/consultation near you. Should your local ECC not have a staff member trained in RS/C please reach out to Christine Bauer at the Office of Early Childhood (303) 866-3107 or via email christine.bauer@state.co.us for additional information.

What are the Guidelines for Facilitators of Reflective Supervision/Consultation to Follow?

Facilitating Reflective Supervision and Consultation (RS/C) is an important part of the system of coaching.These guidelines describe the facilitation of RS/C as required for the purposes of maintaining the Colorado Coaching Credential. These guidelines reflect current research and information provided in training on best practices by the state Office of Early Childhood and Department of Education. 

The practice of reflective supervision/consultation must be: 
  • Regular
  • Collaborative and
  • Reflective (Parlakian, 2001)

While a direct supervisor may be able to provide RS/C to coaches, it is important that coaches are able to choose their reflective supervisor. Please see this example to learn how to document the hours of Reflective Supervision/Consultation you provide or have received.

Guidance for group RS/C between a facilitator and multiple coaches:

  • The group should remain consistent and committed to confidentiality
  • Four-six participants at a maximum
  • Regularity of one to two times per month
  • Length of session between 60-90 minutes
  • Protected meeting time and space

Guidance for individual RS/C between a facilitator and one coach:

  • The facilitator and individual should remain consistent and committed to confidentiality
  • Regularity of one to two times per month
  • Length of session between 30-60 minutes
  • Protected meeting time and space

Document RS/C hours by writing a letter containing the following details:

  1. Letter printed on organization's letterhead
  2. Facilitator's name
  3. Supervisee's name
  4. Date range RS/C was received
  5. Number of RS/C hours provided by the facilitator
  6. Signature of the supervisee's program supervisor
  7. Signature of the facilitator
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