Coaching support for early childhood educators can improve their practice and support children's learning outcomes.

Program details

  • Priority area: Communication, wellbeing (social and emotional), access and inclusion
  • Primary audience: Educators
  • Delivery mode: Professional services, coaching
  • Strength of evidence: Level 5 – Foundational research evidence
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Emotional maturity aggressive behaviour
    • Emotional maturity hyperactivity and inattentive behaviour
    • Social competence responsibility and respect
    • Physical health and wellbeing physical independence
  • Item cost: Variable

Program description

There is a growing body of evidence that coaching support for early childhood educators and teachers leads to improved practice and supports children’s learning outcomes.

Coaching is a structured process based on an ongoing relationship between two or more people for the purpose of professional learning and improvement of professional practice. Educators and service leaders can work with a coach to improve their curriculum planning, pedagogical strategies and assessment techniques, and other aspects of practice particularly focused on school readiness funding priority areas identified as important for their context.

Elek and Page (2018) conducted a comprehensive review of the empirical research literature to identify success factors for coaching for early childhood educators. The review identifies a number of key elements in the coaching process that are required in order for coaching support to be effective. These include:

  • observation
  • feedback
  • goal-setting
  • reflection.

The review also identified the following critical features of an effective coaching program:

  • that the program is individualised to the needs of the educator, and aligned with educators’ characteristics, skills and contexts
  • that educators are provided with a suitable dose or amount of coaching
  • that the coaching is delivered ‘in-situ’, and provides educators with opportunities to apply new skills.

When considering the use of a coach, services should ensure that the coach is suitably qualified and that they can deliver coaching support that is high quality and appropriate for early childhood education settings.

Services should enquire about a coach’s previous experience working with kindergarten programs, their qualifications, the approach they take and the outcomes they have achieved through previous coaching work.

Coaches should have a sound understanding of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF) and be able to demonstrate an ability to work in accordance with the eight practice principles. In the coaching process there should be a particular focus on the practice principal ‘reflective practice’. Coaches should also be able to demonstrate their working knowledge of the National Quality Framework with particular reference to national quality standards areas 1 and 5.

Educators and teachers working with coaches should consider what their goals are, how they might best utilise the coaching support provided and what amount of coaching support they require. It is important that educators feel that the coaching support they receive is planned and delivered through a collaborative process which supports their practice effectively and meets their individual needs.

There are a number of useful resources to assist with the process of determining how coaching support might be best utilised in a service. Please see under 'Get your service ready for VEYLDF’ the ‘Self-assessment rubric and lessons from coaching’.

Detailed cost

Please contact providers directly.

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: early childhood educators.
  • Program/practice descriptions and details: coaching is purposefully focused on supporting educators to learn and adopt new approaches to inform their work with children.
  • Staffing: services should consider the cost of backfill when determining the cost of accessing this resource.
  • Implementation considerations: coaches need to apply the VEYLDF and advice should be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of services. Periods of intense coaching should support specified actions agreed by the educational team and maintain the momentum of change in practice.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Reflective practice
  • Partnerships with families
  • High expectations for every child
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
  • Equity and diversity, Assessment for learning and development
  • Integrated teaching and learning approaches
  • Partnerships with professionals.

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

  • Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing
  • Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing