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Early Childhood Video Premiere Emphasizes Importance of Coaching

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In late March, more than 100 early childhood educators and professionals attended the evening premiere of “Foundations of Coaching in Early Childhood: Partnering with Parents & Professionals,” a video focused on coaching as a powerful tool for promoting best practice and supporting the work of early childhood teachers, related services professionals and early-care providers. 

The screening premiere took place in the Hartford-Windsor Marriott ballroom. 

The video was commissioned and presented by The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and a handful of partners, including the state Office of Early Childhood, The Connecticut Head Start Association, the UConn Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, All Our Kin, EASTCONN and the RESC Alliance.

Jay Williams, president of The Hartford Foundation, started the evening with a welcome and a brief overview, followed by a few words from practitioners who participated in the video’s production. 

Connecticut’s Commissioner of Early Childhood, Beth Bye, formally introduced the video. 

“It’s a really proud evening for us tonight,” Bye told the group. “I think that the exciting part of this video is that the Office of Early Childhood was conceptualized to try to bring systems together, and you will see that this video is a microcosm of that approach. 

“We think the quality improvement efforts that we are pursuing will have coaching as a basis … I hope today is the beginning of a period in Connecticut when we think about the importance of training and coaching, and consider new ways to accomplish that.” 

The 25-minute video depicted key coaching moments between early childhood professionals, families and early-care providers.
Vignettes demonstrated the five key tenets of coaching from The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook by Rush and Shelden, including joint planning, observation, action/practice, reflection and feedback.

In one scene, a physical therapist worked closely with a family to improve their daughter’s mobility. In another, All Our Kin early childhood coach Marina Rodriguez supported the work of an early-care provider with collaborative discussions and open-ended questions. One center-based scene focused on planning for transitions when multiple teachers and students are in the same classroom. 

Overall, the video emphasized that successful adult coaching should be relationship-based, and designed to build early childhood practitioners’ capacity in many areas, in order to optimize outcomes. 

“It’s really the ongoing, systematic approach to adult learning that helps educators in the field feel that they are supported and that they have somebody who can help guide them, not dictate to them,” said EASTCONN Director of Early Childhood Diane Gozemba. “That’s when coaching works best.”

 To view the video, visit The Hartford Foundation website at http://www.hfpg.org/ or find the video on YouTube. 

To learn more, contact EASTCONN’s Diane Gozemba at dgozemba@eastconn.org.