Improving Practice: The Study of Coaching Practices in Early Care and Education (SCOPE)

2016-2020
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

As a professional development tool, coaching holds the potential to enhance the skills of the early childhood workforce, improve caregiving environments, and ensure that classroom practices benefit from the latest developments. This study aims to move the field toward consensus on the core features of coaching for teachers and caregivers in early childhood education.

The research team will build a conceptual model for the core features of coaching, drawing on the existing knowledge base. The model will guide the design of a mixed-methods descriptive study on how coaching is implemented and varies in center-based classrooms and family child care homes that serve preschool-age children and are supported by Child Care and Development Fund subsidies or Head Start grants.

Data collection includes web surveys with administrators, providers, teachers, and coaches working in 60 center-based programs and 40 family child care homes. We are also conducting in-depth case studies in 12 sites, including qualitative interviews with early childhood education directors, coaches, teachers, and family child care providers as well as observations of coach-teacher interactions. The study findings will provide the basis for a rigorous evaluation of the core features of coaching while also improving coaching practices in the field.