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February 2021


What research has been conducted on coaching models for preschool (ages 3-5) teachers?


Following an established REL Southeast research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on coaching models for preschool (ages 3-5) teachers. We focused on identifying resources that specifically addressed coaching models for preschool (ages 3-5) teachers. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (For details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo.)

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your reference. These references are listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily in order of relevance. Also, we searched the references in the response from the most commonly used resources of research, but they are not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

  1. Artman-Meeker, K., Fettig, A., Barton, E. E., Penney, A., & Zeng, S. (2015). Applying an evidence-based framework to the early childhood coaching literature. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 35(3). 183-196.
    From the abstract: "Professional development (PD) is a critical pathway for promoting the use of evidence-based intervention practices in early childhood (EC) settings. Coaching has been proposed as a type of PD that is especially promising for jobembedded learning. A lack of consensus exists regarding evidence-based EC coaching strategies and what types of support coaches need to implement these strategies. In this literature review, we analyzed the EC coaching literature in terms of coaching strategies shown to improve EC practitioners' use of effective intervention practices, coaching model components and strategies, the rigor and quality of the research, and the preparation provided to coaches in the identified articles. We conclude with recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of coaching and improving the preparation of coaches who serve in EC settings."
  2. Banuelos, N. V., Doerfel, M. K., & Stoffel, R. E. (2019). Bright and early: Coaching increases the quality of early childhood programs. Learning Professional, 40(6), 50-53.
    From the abstract: "For nearly 15 years, Child360 (formerly Los Angeles Universal Preschool) has offered coaching services to early childhood education providers who serve children up to age 5 in public centers and family based childcare homes. These coaching services give educators the support they need to ensure their programs are places where children are happy and healthy, and where a love for learning is born. Child360's coaching model integrates research-based practices that promote teacher competency, confidence, and professional growth. To evaluate its practices, Child360 examined the effectiveness of its coaching model during the 2017-18 program year. Overall, teachers who received coaching improved their practices, and their programs saw increases in quality ratings from Quality Start LA, a tiered quality rating system that parents can use to make decisions about where to enroll their children."
  3. Brock, M. E., & Beaman-Diglia, L. E. (2018). Efficacy of coaching preschool teachers to manage challenging behavior. Education and Treatment of Children, 41(1), 31-48.
    From the abstract: "Many early educators cite behavior management as a top professional development need. Evidence-based practices exist to address severe challenging behavior, but promoting implementation of these practices remains a challenge. In this single-case design study, two preschool teachers received coaching focused on implementing three evidence-based strategies--referencing a visual representation of expectations, systematic monitoring and positive reinforcement, and self-management. Coaching that featured modeling and performance feedback enabled the teachers to implement all three strategies for a child with severe challenging behavior. Although student behavior was not incorporated into the experimental design, descriptive data showed marked improvement that coincided with implementation of selfmanagement procedures. These findings extend the coaching literature, and highlight the importance of implementing evidence-based practices to address the challenging behavior of young children."
  4. Byington, T. A., & Kim, Y. (2020). Impact of a language and literacy training and coaching intervention on early childhood outcomes in low-income communities. Journal of Extension, 58(4rb1).
    From the abstract: "We implemented an Extension-led language and literacy training and coaching intervention targeting preschool teachers and children in low-income communities in Nevada. Participation in the intervention had a positive influence on the language and literacy instruction skills of preschool teachers and language and literacy skills of children. Analysis of 40 preschool classrooms and 199 preschoolers over 3 years of data collection identified improvements in general classroom environments and teachers' language and literacy practices. Preschoolers demonstrated improvements in alphabet knowledge, comprehension, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and oral language. Extension professionals elsewhere may use a similar approach to positively affect the achievement gap of at-risk children."
  5. Elek, C., & Page, J. (2019). Critical features of effective coaching for early childhood educators: A review of empirical research literature. Professional Development in Education, 45(4), 567-585.
    From the abstract: "There is a growing body of evidence that coaching early childhood educators leads to improved instruction, and influences children's learning outcomes. Despite this, consensus is lacking about how coaching as a form of professional development is defined, what it should involve, and how much should be offered. This paper outlines the findings of a review of English-language empirical research literature on successful coaching interventions in early childhood education. It identifies critical features of successful coaching, as well as areas warranting further exploration and implications for practice. The comprehensive review, drawing from methods of systematic review and rapid appraisal, confirmed that observation, feedback, goal-setting and reflection are common elements of successful coaching programmes. Analysis of the structures and processes of successful coaching interventions identified that in order to bring about practice change, the amount and content of coaching should be aligned with educators' characteristics, skills and contexts. It further confirmed that effective coaching should allow educators opportunities to apply new skills, and support them to reflect on their practice and set self-directed goals. Further research is needed to explore not just what works, but why and in what context."
  6. Fettig, A., & Artman-Meeker, K. (2016). Group coaching on pre-school teachers' implementation of pyramid model strategies: A program description. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 36(3), 147-158.
    From the abstract: "The purpose of this article was to describe a group coaching model and present preliminary evidence of its impact on teachers' implementation of Pyramid Model practices. In particular, we described coaching strategies used to support teachers in reflecting and problem solving on the implementation of the evidence-based strategies. Preliminary results of six pre-school teachers in an early childhood education program who participated in the group coaching were presented. The exploratory data provided findings of impact of the group coaching model and demonstrated that teachers' implementation of the Pyramid Model practices increased after receiving group coaching. Implications for practice and future research were discussed."
  7. Fox, L., Hemmeter, M., Snyder, P., Binder, D. P., & Clarke, S. (2011). Coaching early childhood special educators to implement a comprehensive model for promoting young children's social competence. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 31(3), 178-192.
    From the abstract: "Growing evidence suggests the importance of practitioners implementing promotion, prevention, and intervention practices to foster children's social-emotional competence and address challenging behavior within schools. Limited research exists, however, on how to support teachers of school-age children to implement with fidelity comprehensive frameworks that organize promotion, prevention, and intervention practices, and even fewer studies have examined implementation within early childhood classrooms. In this study, three teachers were trained and coached to implement promotion, prevention, and intervention practices related to the Teaching Pyramid Model. Findings from the present single-subject multiple probe across teachers' experimental study offer evidence of a functional relationship between training and coaching and implementation of practices associated with the model. Results are discussed with respect to challenges related to supporting teachers to implement with fidelity a complex and comprehensive array of evidence-based practices and the critical importance of coaching. (Contains 2 figures, 4 tables, and 1 note.)"
  8. Hindman, A. H., & Wasik, B. A. (2012). Unpacking an effective language and literacy coaching intervention in Head Start: Following teachers' learning over two years of training. Elementary School Journal, 113(1), 131-154.
    From the abstract: "This exploratory study investigated how 2 years of a coaching-based language and literacy intervention were linked to Head Start teachers' classroom environments and instructional interactions, as well as to the vocabulary, alphabet, and sound awareness learning of their preschool students. In total, 16 Head Start teachers participated in the intervention, and 10 teachers participated in a business-as-usual control. In addition, 626 preschoolers participated in the intervention, while 357 children participated in the control condition. The first year of coaching was linked to gains in the quality of teachers' classroom literacy environments and the quality of instructional interactions, and a second year of coaching resulted in additional gains in the quality of instructional interactions. Effects were consistent regardless of the initial quality of the classroom environment and instructional interactions. The intervention was significantly related to all child outcomes, with greater vocabulary gains in the second year of coaching. (Contains 7 tables and 1 note.)"
  9. Page, J., & Eadie, P. (2019). Coaching for continuous improvement in collaborative, interdisciplinary early childhood teams. Australasian Journal of Early Chldhood, 44(3), 270-284.
    From the abstract: "There is growing evidence that coaching early childhood educators leads to higher quality teaching practices and improved child learning outcomes. Despite this, there is a lack of Australian evidence on the impact that coaching in collaborative, interdisciplinary teams in early childhood education and care settings has on teacher effectiveness and by extension child learning. This paper will draw on data from two collaborative interdisciplinary research projects -- the "Victorian Advancing Early Learning Study" and the "Every Toddler Talking Initiative" -- to explore the features of coaching, collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships that support early childhood educators to engage in the process of continuous improvement. We argue that governance and leadership is critical in enabling interdisciplinary teams to engage in a collaborative process of continuous improvement and that threshold conditions are required within early childhood education and care services to foster interdisciplinary coaching collaborations in a sustained manner."
  10. Twigg, D.,Pendergast, D., Flückiger, B., Garvis, S., Johnson, G., & Robertson, J. (2013). Coaching for early childhood educators: An insight into the effectiveness of an initiative. International Research in Early Childhood Education, 4(1), 73-90.
    From the abstract: "Professional development in the form of coaching has the potential to support practitioners who are being inducted into new policy and curriculum initiatives. This paper examines the efficacy of a coaching program in its support of educators to align their practice with the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework for all Children from Birth to Eight Years (the Victorian Framework) and Belonging, Being, Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF). Aspects of the Coaching Program that were considered in the mixedmethods evaluation included the program's effectiveness, the intensity of its delivery, the approach used, and the coaching relationship. The evaluation found that the coaching program was an effective way to support educators align their practice with the Frameworks, and that readiness and commitment to change and the coaching relationships impacted on this process. The evaluation also identified possible refinements and improvements to the Coaching Program, which are noted in this article to further support early childhood educators to engage with aspects of the early childhood reform agenda."


Keywords and Search Strings
The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

  • Coaching models for preschool (ages 3-5) teachers
  • Coaching, early childhood education, preschool teachers
  • Coaching early childhood educators

Databases and Resources
We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the publication: References and resources published for last 15 years, from 2003 to present, were include in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations, academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types - randomized control trials,, quasi experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc. (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast at Florida State University. This memorandum was prepared by REL Southeast under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-0011, administered by Florida State University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.