ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN’S PEER COACHING PROGRAM
by DeeAnn Besch and Alli Zomer
Every so often we like to share a bit about what’s happening “behind the scenes” at Especially for Children. In 2018, we launched a peer coaching program that teaching staff participate in upon hire. Newly hired teachers are paired with a coach, often from a different EFC school, to support them as they get started in their roles.
Mentees are matched with coaches who work with the same age group so that coaches are able to share relevant teaching strategies, classroom management practices, daily routines, etc. Coaches and mentees observe one another in their classrooms and have time for in-person and phone conversations. They spend 6 months paired together, with the amount of coaching time dependent on the mentee’s background and experience.
One goal of the coaching program is to make teachers new to Especially for Children feel welcome in the greater organization. It is also valuable to provide teachers new to EFC a chance to see different spaces and learning environments.
We are excited that the program has been a positive experience for those who have participated in it, both coaches and mentees. Once a quarter, coaches from all EFC centers gather for a training and a chance to share and connect. At our meeting in October, some of our coaches had this to say about the program:
“It gives me a chance to share what I have learned with other people and help them get a good start on their career with EFC. And it also lets me see what other teachers are doing well so that I can take those ideas back to my classroom.”
Lynn Livingston, EFC Eden Prairie
“It makes me so happy that I can use my experience to have a positive impact on a new teacher and help their transition into EFC be that much easier. And I can continue to be a resource, because we have an ongoing relationship.”
Robin Klippenstein, EFC Edina/W 70