Coaching has been recognised as a powerful tool for embedding new practice and building a strong and sustainable workforce. The term, however – more commonly associated with our favourite sports team – is still relatively new in the context of early childhood education.
Despite this, coaching and mentoring programs are growing in the sector and Gowrie Victoria is delivering several programs for the Victorian Department of Education and Training. These include mentoring for new teachers and a new coaching program to support teachers returning to the sector – launched this month. Our most established coaching program is through the School Readiness Funding program and has become a popular item on the menu.
Gowrie Victoria consultant Leanne Grogan describes coaching as an open and explorative process that allows teachers with a range of experience and skillsets to think about what they do, how they do it and why they do it.
“It’s also an opportunity to think about how you might like to do it,” she says. “It’s a chance to explore goals, to really talk about practice and to lean into focus areas that you want to explore further.
“Generally the capacities are already there, teachers just haven’t had an opportunity to sit with them for some time.”
Leanne says the beauty of a coaching package with Gowrie is that it can be specifically tailored to the needs and goals of teachers, leaders and teams to evaluate professional strengths and help tap into knowledge that has been accrued over time.
“It’s a growth phase,” she says “You might start with a particular goal and continue to work towards embedding that practice to improve your service.
“Some might be quite clear about what they want to achieve, while some don’t have a particular goal; they simply want to talk about practice and in that they may decide there are particular areas they’d like to do more with.”
Consultant and team mentor Julie London says Gowrie coaches are as diverse as the services they work with. Each, however, is a highly experienced early childhood professional. “We get what’s happening for you, at the moment, in your service,” she says. “We understand what the current day-to-day complexities are and we bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you achieve your goals.”
The sky’s the limit when it comes to particular goals a Gowrie coaching package can focus on, from reviewing centre philosophies, team work and leadership strategies, and writing quality improvement plans, to building an understanding of child behaviours, or creating engaging environments.
Julie says a small package involves an initial conversation to develop goals and a focus area, followed by two online sessions and an onsite visit.
“A larger package might involve a workshop or two for the whole team on a topic you’ve chosen,” she says. “There may be multiple onsite visits over a period of months, and in between a number of online sessions.
“We will also research and provide a range of resources and materials relevant to those goals and needs.”
As part of the Department of Education & Training’s support for Early Childhood Teachers returning to the sector after a period of leave, Gowrie is offering a coaching program to support teachers through this transition period. Find out more on our ECT Coaching page, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Terri on 03 8624 1077.
As part of the Department of Education & Training’s support for new teachers, Gowrie offers mentoring for Provisionally Registered Teachers looking to achieve full teaching registration with VIT. Find out more on our PRT Mentoring page email email@example.com or call Terri on 03 8624 1077.
Gowrie Victoria offers coaching packages as part of the School Readiness Funding menu. If you’re considering coaching as part of your SRF Plan, please contact Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 446 974 to discuss your needs and package options and prices. Find out more on our School Readiness Funding page.