An exploratory study of early childhood coaches’ practices and professional learning needs

Rachel E. Schachter, Holly Hatton-Bowers, Hayley Jackson, Lisa L. Knoche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Coaching is increasingly being used as a mechanism to improve the quality of early childhood education. Yet, for coaching outside of researcher-controlled interventions, limited information details coaches’ reports of their practices’ professional learning needs. We addressed this gap via an exploratory study utilizing online questionnaires of 91 coaches working with educators in a Midwestern US state across 12 coaching initiatives. Most participants had less than 5 years of experience working as an early childhood coach. Almost a third coached for multiple initiatives. Coaching occurred via multiple formats and often addressed behavior management and social emotional development regardless of the coaching initiative. Coaches identified challenges regarding scheduling and working with difficult learners and reported that peer support and being coached themselves were the most beneficial learning experiences. Findings suggest that the perspective of the coach is important in informing training and professional learning for both coaches and educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Years
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • coaching
  • early childhood education
  • mentoring
  • professional development
  • real-world settings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'An exploratory study of early childhood coaches’ practices and professional learning needs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this