Step Up To Quality Stories

Earlier Coaching Now Available for Nebraska Early Childhood Education Providers

High-quality early child care and education is crucial to a child’s future success, and we know that supporting the professionals who shape these children is just as important. Now, Step Up to Quality is offering more coaching and peer support for providers at an earlier stage in our program.

What is Step Up to Quality?

Step Up to Quality helps early child care providers and educators recognize and improve the quality of their practices, going beyond what is required to do better for their children’s and families’ futures. The five steps of our program guide providers on a path to higher quality at their own pace, and completing any step is a reason to celebrate.

We greatly value feedback from our providers, and we learned through meetings and surveys in the Step Up to Quality 2.0 process that they want access to earlier coaching on their Step Up to Quality path. Previously, providers would not have the option to request a free, one-on-one professional coach to support their classroom, home or center until they completed Step 2.

More coaching and network building opportunities

Now, providers at Step 1 (or entering at Step 3) can access coaches during a series of virtual group meetings in what we are calling quality foundations coaching. We intend to group providers by child care type, such as family child care providers or child care centers. We think this is a wonderful opportunity to not only provide earlier opportunities to meet with our excellent coaches but to build a network with other providers in each cohort to share advice and celebrate successes.

“We want to empower and build the capacity of these providers. They’ve been doing this work for many years, so their experiences and knowledge is incredibly valuable to share with the group among experienced and newer providers,” said Coach Specialist Lynne Cook. “We’re helping each other do our best.”

Benefits of coaching

Both forms of coaching support are completely free and voluntary for providers enrolled in Step Up to Quality. The quality foundations cohorts will focus on what evidence could be collected to fulfill high-quality indicators. One-on-one coaching is more intensive, focusing on a provider’s child care practices and setting to understand and support their personal vision and goals.

“We want to honor providers’ philosophy,” Lynne said. “A coach should be viewed as a partner in this. They’re a guide through the process and a resource. Providers get to decide what their program should look like.”

If you’re already enrolled in Step Up to Quality, you can request to join a quality foundations cohort. If you’re a provider who’s looking to boost the quality of your care, you can enroll in our online orientation when you’re ready to learn more and get started!

Interested in becoming a Step Up to Quality coach?

We’re always open to recruiting more coaches who meet early childhood qualifications. Our coaches are experienced professionals who are looking to shift into more flexible, part-time schedules. Learn more about coach qualifications and complete our coach application. Contact Lynne at or 531-207-2218 with any questions.