Bellwether releases publication on coaching in early childhood education

Bellwether Education Partners is marking the 10 year anniversary of Head Start’s most recent reauthorization with the release of “Primetime for Coaching: Improving Instructional Coaching in Early Childhood Education,” a new report that summarizes the research on coaching in early childhood programs and highlights promising coaching models from the field.

Southwest Human Development’s coaching approach is profiled in the full report on pages 26-28, providing a glimpse into the innovative processes implemented to support and develop teachers of young children.

The full report offers recommendations for early childhood education program leaders, policymakers, researchers, and philanthropists to overcome challenges and help make coaching more effective for students and teachers. These recommendations are particularly relevant in light of new Head Start Performance Standards that require all Head Start programs to implement systems to provide coaching.

A growing number of early childhood education programs are using coaching to support teachers’ professional development and improve the quality of early childhood instruction. Educators work one-on-one with their coaches towards specific, individualized teaching goals, focusing on skills and knowledge they can put into practice in their classrooms.

There are still many unknown factors and variables behind coaching’s effects, and results can vary substantially. Moreover, many evidence-based models are cost-intensive or difficult to implement at scale. This creates a challenge for programs and policymakers seeking to use coaching to improve early childhood teaching and learning.

“Primetime for Coaching: Improving Instructional Coaching in Early Childhood Education” seeks to help policymakers and practitioners alike make informed decisions about coaching programs and policies. The report dives deep into the research, policies, and practices around coaching in early childhood today, and uncovers successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. Coaching is still evolving, and early childhood education practitioners and policymakers should understand different trends, goals, and frameworks for coaching so they can make informed choices.

The report:

  • Explains what coaching is and identifies the complex design choices involved in implementing coaching in early childhood settings;
  • Summarizes the growing body of research around coaching, and identifies key gaps and future directions for research;
  • Tracks and analyzes policy trends around coaching in Head Start, state pre-K programs, and state quality rating and improvement systems; and
  • Profiles several diverse coaching approaches and models from the field, to lift up lessons from coaching in practice.

Learn more about coaching in early childhood education, download the full report.