What Is an Early Childhood Coach?
Coaching is an adult learning strategy that relies on co-construction of knowledge and reflective capacity to transform both participants' practices. Coaching draws on observations for collaborative analysis and decision-making with the coaching partner that informs planning to build upon the positive, equitable experiences children and families have daily. An early childhood coach is a professional who works directly with early childhood educators—including teachers, infant and toddler early care and learning providers, supervisors and directors—to build capacity for continuous quality improvement.
Coaching is nondirective, goal-oriented, and solution-focused (Rush and Sheldon, 2020). Studies have shown coaching to be one of the most effective ways to support adult educators in learning new knowledge and skills (Joyce & Showers, 2002). Coaching interactions include aspects of more directive approaches to working with adults like consultation, assessment services or other problem solving approaches; however, relationships that consist mostly of these approaches are not considered coaching according to the requirements of the Colorado Coaching Credential. A coaches' work with their coaching partner might include: Joint planning, observation, modeling, reflective dialogue, feedback, shared analysis of program data (e.g. ERS-3, CLASS, LENA
) as well as collaborative progress monitoring based on individualized goals.
How to Earn a Colorado Coach Credential
Aligned to the Colorado Competencies for Early Childhood Coaches
, the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential provides statewide recognition to early childhood professionals who have the foundational skills and dispositions necessary for effective coaching in the early childhood field. Credentialed coaches participate in department approved, coaching-specific training and engage in ongoing professional development with a trained reflective supervisor to maintain their coach credential.
The Office of Early Childhood provides Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD)
virtually to communities across the state at no cost to participants. This coaching-specific training meets the training requirement for the Colorado Coach Credential. Topics covered include: characteristics of coaching in early childhood settings, working with adult learners, coaching skills, reflective practice and tools to support the coach and coaching partner in continuous quality improvement. To receive a certificate of completion for RBPD, participants must complete the 35 hour hybrid training including attending the live instructor-led sessions and engaging in self-paced, online assignments. If you must miss more than one hour of any scheduled instructor-led session, please register for a different training that better meets your scheduling needs.
Register for Coaching Training
Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD) training, offered by the Department of Early Childhood is scheduled throughout the year. To be registered for this training, you must have an account in the Colorado Shines Professional Development Information System (PDIS). Registration is limited to 26 participants. Interest in this free, high quality course always exceeds seats available, but there are other for-cost Department Approved Trainings listed below*. If a training reaches capacity, coaches who will be providing Colorado Shines quality improvement coaching, Expanding Quality for Infants and Toddlers RELATE Coaching, and coaches who provide services within target regions will be prioritized for enrollment. Please join the Relationship Based Professional Development training waiting list
if you are interested in building coaching into your early childhood work.
Apply for and Renew the Colorado Coach Credential
- Complete Relationship-Based Professional Development training and Recognition and Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect, offered at not cost to participants by the Department of Early Childhood throughout the year, or other department approved, coaching-specific training*
- Complete your educator and coach self-assessments and your individualized professional development plan in the PDIS
- Apply for the Colorado Early Childhood Professional Credential 3.0 in the PDIS and earn a level 3 or higher
- Apply for or renew the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential in the PDIS
- Professionals must have at least two years of experience in early care settings to become credential coaches in CO. Learn more about experience
- Renew the Colorado Early Childhood Coach Credential in the PDIS.
- To maintain their credential, every three years coaches must provide documentation of:
*Other Department Approved Training: