Part of the work we do at BANANAS involves coaching early childhood educators to improve the quality of child care programs. Our Quality Improvement Coaches spend time at licensed child care centers and family child care homes to discuss ways to improve and support implementation of health and safety, engage more deeply with children, support child development, create nurturing environments, and build strong relationships with parents. Since we know that children thrive in programs that provide quality care and opportunities to learn through play, we know that the work our coaches are doing is incredibly important!
Recently one of our Quality Improvement Coaches was truly inspired by the experience of working with a young teacher named Rachel*. Over a short span of time, she saw Rachel transform from a shy caregiver who rarely showed emotion to a fully engaged, often silly and outgoing early educator. After watching a video of herself interacting in the classroom (watching and reflecting on videos is one helpful tool coaches can use), Rachel recognized that she was rarely smiling, laughing, or playing actively with the kids in her care. She was surprised to see that the genuine warmth and care she felt for her students was not evident in her behavior. Instead, she seemed disinterested.
The coach asked her, “What do you do really well and what do you want to improve on?” Rachel quickly responded that while she was great when it came to planning and keeping things organized, she wanted to be more expressive and playful and to make a point of being more engaged with the children. Our coach was very supportive of this and together they came up with strategies Rachel could use to bring more warmth to the class. Her attitude shifted dramatically and she not only began to laugh and smile more frequently, she began to take a series of BANANAS workshops on being a child care provider. Rachel’s understanding of her role as a caregiver and the recognition of how important and valuable early childhood education is changed with every new training. She recently told the coach that her goal was to pursue early childhood education as a career. We are so proud of this young teacher and of the amazing work done by our Quality Improvement Coaches.
*Please note that our client’s name has been changed to protect her identity.