A new year means a new opportunity to explore options for development and action with the help of a Gowrie Victoria consultant.

Early learning services across Victoria have started to sign up to the DET School Readiness Funding program to work with a Gowrie Victoria coach on developing goals, building knowledge, and embedding new practices.

The coaching program allows services and teachers with a range of experience and skillsets to reflect on their strengths and needs. Gowrie Victoria consultant Leanne Grogan says it’s also an opportunity to talk about practice and explore key focus areas.

Last year, our consultants worked on a rich variety of focus areas, from teamwork and leadership skills, to understanding children’s behaviour and creating engaging environments.

One regional kindergarten in south-west Victoria signed up for a coaching package to work on its Quality Improvement Plan and service philosophy.

“Through coaching, we were able to clearly outline our focus and to recognise the journey,” the ECT said. “Our coach acted as a sounding board in many ways and also as someone who we could bravely and openly discuss our practice and what this looks like in a team-teaching role.”

The kindergarten began working to involving families in the development of its service philosophy and this year plans to focus on a higher level of family engagement. “Our coach was able to listen with ease and draw out ideas, then make suggestions, based on observation, for further conversation.”

There are several coaching packages to choose from. A smaller 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 chosen topic, multiple onsite visits over a period of months and online sessions. The consultant will also research and provide a range of resources and materials relevant to each service’s goals and needs.

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.”

For further information on the available packages or to book your consultant, see www.gowrievictoria.org.au/school-readiness-funding.