Step Up To Quality Stories

The Importance of Coaching in Early Childhood Education

We know how important high-quality early childhood education is, but how can we continue to boost this quality? An important component is coaching.

If you’ve ever been in a classroom full of energetic children, you know another expert perspective can be very helpful. Coaching is professional development that emphasizes the application of knowledge to practice — and it’s emerging as a critical factor in overall quality improvement in early childhood settings. That’s why Step Up to Quality offers free, voluntary coaching to help programs of all types, big or small, create individualized goals and action plans to improve quality.

Benefits of coaching

Early childhood education settings can benefit from group and one-on-one coaching, and we make both available to Step Up to Quality participants. Our specialized, professional coaches help providers navigate through the process and ultimately improve educational experiences for children.

Enrolled providers can begin working with a Step Up to Quality coach once they achieve Step 1 (or enter at Step 3).

The first coaching available is Quality Foundations Coaching, a new group coaching option that is facilitated through weekly virtual meetings. Providers join together to learn about high-quality practices, gain motivation, prepare for one-on-one coaching and build a network of support across the state — all while having fun!

One-on-one coaching is available once programs complete the requirements for Step 2. Read one of our previous stories that highlights how a one-on-one coach approaches her work with Step Up to Quality participants.

What to expect from coaching

A good coach is a supportive resource, not a bossy authority. Coaches help you identify and maximize your strengths and guide you along your path to quality improvement. For those child care directors or owners who are going through the Step Up to Quality program, a free coach is a big asset to participating.

Your coach may ask:

  • What is your Why?
  • What do you want your program to accomplish?
  • What have you tried so far? How has it worked?
  • What options do you and your staff see for moving forward?
  • What kind of input do you want from a coach?
  • What is your program’s plan for moving up to the next step?
  • How can a coach best support your program?

You are not required to have a coach, but many participating programs agree that this is one of the most beneficial resources offered by Step Up to Quality. Coaches provide an extra layer of support and encouragement for you and your program staff as you work toward your goals.

Ultimately, coaching benefits you, your staff and the children in your care. From the way our coaches interact with providers all the way through to how you interact with children, we can all adopt a coach mindset that prioritizes guidance, support and collaboration in learning.

Ready to take advantage of coaching? Learn more and sign up here. If you aren’t involved with Step Up to Quality yet, we’re excited to get you on board. Start the process with our free online orientation.