Early Learning System Initiative
Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families
ELSI has worked with partners to develop and refine a Mentor Coaching Framework to support early childhood coaches in their work to strengthen early childhood education, with a focus on anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion.
The framework is designed to support the Early Learning Division’s (ELD) goals for Oregon’s early childhood system: Qualified, Effective, Diverse, and Culturally Responsive. The framework will be integrated with National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) competencies and training efforts, and it will be continually adapted to meet the needs of diverse settings and for cultural and linguistic responsiveness.
Mentor Coaches with ELSI will support ongoing professional development for coaches in publicly funded early learning programs in Oregon, Preschool Promise (PSP) and Oregon Pre-Kindergarten (OPK).
A community of practice (CoP) is a unique form of peer-to-peer technical assistance, whose purpose is to create a space for shared knowledge and experience between peers. Research indicates that early childhood educators prefer to seek out other peers for advice, and CoPs are an effective component of a professional development suite, particularly for home-based early educators. They may also foster a community among coaches and other partners and be a platform for equity conversations.
Currently ELSI is offering CoP’s with
Coaching relationships take time and effort, and these 1:1 meetings will initially be a place where ELSI mentor coaches can connect individually with coaches in their primary coaching partnerships to build those relationships. These 1:1 meetings (i.e., remote and face-to-face) serve as a time to connect and build rapport with the coach, learn more about their work, and set individual-level goals. In the long- term, these 1:1 meetings will be a space to support follow-up and next steps for goals, discussions of data to collaborate and identify next steps/goals, and ways to assist in the transfer of goals into job-embedded learning.
Currently ELSI is offering 1:1 meetings with
The 5 key components of the Mentor Coach Framework will be applied through frequent reflective dialogue between mentor coaches and coaches. Through reflective dialogue, ELSI mentor coaches will learn about the early educators, children, families, and communities who are being served within their various coaching communities. Mentor coaches will use gained knowledge to help coaches reflect and ultimately collaborate to build a system of professional development that is integrated into early educator daily activities.
ELSI mentor coaches will create and provide facilitated workshops to the PSP and OPK coaches. These workshops will be connected, when feasible, to content of 1:1 meetings, goals, and/or Community of Practice discussion points.
The Mentor Coaching Framework aims to use data, broadly defined, to inform coaching practices and goals.
ELSI strives to take a trauma-informed approach organizationally as well as programmatically, which includes:
We will provide ongoing support and professional development to mentor coaches and PSP and OPK coaches in trauma and resilience. We seek to complement the Practice-Based Coaching model with specific tools and strategies for nurturing resilience with a trauma-informed approach. A culture of care for all involved will serve as the foundation of this trauma-informed approach.
ELSI mentor coaches will work to further develop and refine early learning knowledge, including developmentally, culturally and linguistically appropriate practices, Oregon’s early learning system, tools to support continuous quality improvement (e.g., Environmental Rating Scales, Classroom Assessment Scoring System), responsive practices, trauma-informed, and inclusion best practices.
ELSI mentor coaches will work to further develop and refine adult learning knowledge, including effective communication skills, reflective dialogue, data supports/how to, constructive formative feedback, strong organizational and leadership skills.
Mentor coaches will support PSP and OPK coaches to use Practice-Based Coaching in their work with OPK and PSP early educators, by focusing on teaching practices that are important for children’s school readiness. This includes helping early educators use new skills, strategies and models in their work, and linking them to positive child outcomes.
Mentor coaches will support PSP and OPK coaches who work with PSP and OPK early educators to recognize and elevate skills and strengths that all students bring into the classroom, and ensure that learning experiences, curriculum, and assessments honor their cultural and linguistic background.
Mentor coaches and coaches will work together to identify specific goals that are aligned with individuals’ and programs’ priorities
The foundation for the interactions between mentor coach and coach and for approaching content goals.
We aim for mentor coaching to prioritize relationships with coaches, and coaches’ relationships educators, first and foremost. For instance, strategies to build relationships such as two-way communication, reflective practice, and practices that encourage perspective taking are some ways to build relationships in a coach partnership.
We are willing and committed to a lifestyle of studying what racism looks like in all its forms. We will provide support to the coaches that are ready and willing to engage in anti-racist and equity work in order to support early educators.
ELSI mentor coaches will support coaches in the following ways:
ELSI mentor coaches will bring a trauma-informed lens to their interactions with coaches and support coaches in utilizing this lens with early educators, children, and families. We also include an explicit focus on resilience, which is an ongoing process of positive adaptation in the face of adversity. We see mentor coaches as supporting coaches’ resilience processes, and coaches in supporting resilience among early educators, children, and families. The Mentor Coaching Framework will provide supports through professional development opportunities (e.g., training and coaching such as through the Roots of Resilience professional development program).
ELSI mentor coaching will focus on strengths to inform goals and ultimately improvement. For example, if a program aims to improve the use of open-ended questions during mealtimes, the coach would work to identify ways in which the early educator was already engaging in the use of open-ended questions, call the educator’s attention to this as a strength, and then work together to identify strategies to increase the frequency of open-ended questions at mealtime.