Coaching to Support Children's Cognitive Self-Regulation
Joyce Escorcia: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our Coaching Corner webinar series. Today, we're going to be talking about coaching to support children’s cognitive self-regulation. I am Joyce Escorcia, and I'm so excited to be with you guys today. As always, I have my colleague and friend, Sarah Basler, and you're going to hear from her in just a few minutes. Today, we are so excited to have Amelia Bachleda with us. She is one of our amazing colleagues here at DTL, and you are going to hear more about her and from her in just a few minutes as well. But we want to welcome her to our Coaching Corner family.
During our last webinar, for those of you that had a chance to watch, we introduced kind of a new approach for this year that we're kind of thinking about this integrated webinar approach. That means that we've been presenting and are going to continue to present on the same topic area across our different webinar series, and that's going to be Teacher Time, Coaching Corner, the Ed Managers, and the Home Visitor webinar series.
We hope that this approach where you're kind of learning a little bit more about the same topic just kind of through different lenses really provides opportunities for learning, opportunities to collaborate together across those roles in your program. We want to do just a quick little pulse check and see who has had a chance maybe to check out one of the other webinars and kind of been able to see that integrated approach or hear us talk, say, maybe on Teacher Time or the Home Visitor webinar series? Again, you've kind of been able to kind of hear more about our topic across those webinar series. You're going to see a thumbs-up and a thumbs-down. We're going to invite you to just answer thumbs-up if, "Yes, I've been able to check out webinar,” thumbs-down if, "Not yet, but, I'm planning to.” That's OK, too. We see some answers kind of coming in, and we see that, yes, some have had a chance to kind of check things out kind of about half and half here. We see the responses going up, and we know that folks are getting comfortable with the platform, and maybe you're just seeing that pulse check kind of come in front of you. Again, thumbs-up if, "Yes, I've checked out another one of the webinars," and thumbs-down if, "No, not yet, but I'm going to.”
All right. I still see people kind of actively clicking in. There we are at a little over half that have answered, and we've got quite a few that have seen it and a few saying, "No, not yet," but we know that you're going to check out one of those other webinars. All right. We are going to kind of keep going, so I'm going to end that pulse check. No worries. You got to practice, so we're going to have another pulse check in just a few minutes as well.
All right. Now, kind of for those of you that are aware of the integrated, maybe you've hopped on Teacher Time, or you were able to be a part of our Coaching Corner webinar series, we're really hoping that this is an opportunity for you to be able to kind of facilitate different conversations around the same topic within your program, and so we want to hear from you. In that Q&A widget, if you could just pop in there and let us know, how's that going? Have you been able to kind of have some of those conversations based on those different webinars? Maybe your teachers popped onto Teacher Time, and your coaches you're here as a part of the Coaching Corner. Have you been able to have some of those conversations? How have you been able to maybe use the content across those different webinars in your program, and just how that is collaboration kind of happening within your program? If it's not yet, and you're like, "Man, this is my first time on, and I just think this is a great idea," maybe what's one way that you're thinking that you could kind of use this, kind of our integrated approach, within your program to facilitate conversations across roles?
I see April says yes, that she has, and she's been able to have some of those shared conversations with parents, shared some of the resources with staff. We see a lot. Lisa is talking. She mentions just recommending kind of teachers and coaches watch the different webinars, and Lorena, she said this is her first time on and also excited to see how it goes. We want to say welcome to you, and we hope that you can use this information across different roles in your program.
Again, you can have your teachers watch the latest Teacher Time episode, and then you could pull out the Coaching Corner. You could also, say, have home visitors. If you have home visitors in your program as well, kind of have them watch the last webinar and then have some great conversations kind of around approaches to learning. What does it look like to support those different roles across your program?
Thank you for sharing, and thanks to kind of our first-time, for our first-timers here. Welcome to our Coaching Corner community, and we're really looking forward to just sharing some great ideas and just strategies with you.
All right. Let's keep this going, and kind of in the spirit of kind of this integrated approach, we also want to pop this up here, this is Teacher Time basics, if you …. Some of you said that you were able to check out the Teacher Time webinar. One thing that you're going to notice there is that this is something that you saw on Teacher Time, and it's called Teacher Time basics. These are just a collection of strategies that can be used in any setting interacting with children, and so these are kind of reviewed during each Teacher Time episode because no matter kind of what the content you're focusing on – whether it's math or literacy, or like today, kind of this cognitive self-regulation – it's really just to remember the basics, right, and remember why we're here. It's also important just to know that a home visitor might use these strategies kind of to support families that they work with as well to share with their children and can also suggest how families could implement some of these basics.
You have that B is for those behavioral expectations in advance, that A, attending to and encouraging appropriate behavior, that scaffolding with cues and prompts, increasing engagement, creating or just adding challenge, and then providing that specific feedback. What we are going to do during our time together is that within our resources and within our content – if it relates to one of these strategies – then we're going to be sharing, just kind of point that out and say, "Hey, remember, this is one of those Teacher Time basics.” Again, just knowing that, just another way to kind of make a connection across our webinar series. Be on the lookout for that pop-up as well.
After our time together, we hope that you're really able just to kind of identify some of the ways to promote cognitive self-regulation or that executive functioning skills within infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, really discuss ways that coaches can support their own executive functioning skills and kind of the skills of their coachees, and then also exploring resources that coaches could use to support coachees to use kind of these skills and practices. We really want you to walk away with quite a few things in your treasure chest.
We'd also like to just draw your attention to the viewer's guide for this webinar, and so if you haven't already downloaded the guide, we just want to encourage you to do that, and again, that's in your resource widget, and so this guide is really meant help you kind of engage and reflect during our time together and even afterwards. If you're going to go back and catch this on on-demand or on Push Play, then you can take this viewer's guide and really kind of dig deeper into certain sections, and also, if you're working with coaches, you guys can really have a great conversation using some of the things there. Also, all the resources that we talk about today are included in that viewer's guide as well, so want to be sure that you have that and know where that is.
This year, again, our Coaching Corner webinar series is really going to focus in on approaches to learning, and so that's a domain within the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, or the ELOF, as we call it. You're probably familiar with this framework. If you're new to your role, maybe new to our webinar series, new to Head Start, it may be something new to you, and that is completely OK. The ELOF is ages birth to 5. It really just describes the skills, the behaviors, the knowledge that programs must foster in all children. It's what we want children to be able to do, right? It's what we want to support them to be able to achieve. The framework is really grounded in sort of the research about what young children should be able to know and do to succeed in school. It just describes how kind of children progress across key areas of learning and development. All of this information just really helps us as adults to kind of better understand and support them to be able to do those things, and so that's kind of where we're focusing in on.
I am kind of drilling down even a little bit more because, as you know, we're focusing in on approaches to learning, and so approaches to learning really focuses in on how children refer to … It really refers to kind of the skills and the behaviors that children use to engage in learning, so it's really how they learn. The approaches to learning domain kind of includes emotional, behavioral, and cognitive self-regulation under this one kind of umbrella to really guide teaching practices that support the development of those skills. As coaches, we help support coachees to kind of use those effective teaching and home visiting practices.
When we're thinking about this domain, it also includes kind of initiative, curiosity, and creativity that we know supporting children’s skills kind of in this domain really helps children to kind of just really get what they need, learn those new skills, and really set and achieve goals. Again, we're kind of focusing, honing in on that approaches to learning, and we're going to drill down just a little bit deeper. Approaches to learning has these four subdomains that you see listed here. For today, we're going to be focusing in on cognitive self-regulation or executive function. These skills include things like sustained attention, impulse control, flexibility in thinking. Another related skill is working memory, and so that's just kind of the ability to hold information and to kind of manipulate it to perform certain tasks.
Executive function skills are kind of present in kind of different forms, and at most basic, it could be for instance, say for infant-toddler years, it's just kind of there in kind of a basic form, and it really kind of develops as that child grows and develops. Whether it's kind of climbing onto a couch to retrieve a toy building increasingly kind of elaborate block structures and buildings and all of those exciting things. All of that is a part of this executive function. We're going to look at how we can, as coaches, and how coaching can support this.
Just another quick pulse check here is: Are you familiar with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, or the ELOF, or, again, are you new here, and you say, "No, not yet, but, hey I'm learning more.” I'm going to ask you to thumbs-up if you are familiar with the ELOF and thumbs-down if you're like, "No, I'm new to my role. I'm new to Head Start, and I'm just kind of learning along the way.” Going to ask you to thumbs-up or thumbs-down, again, just another way for us to interact. I see kind of most of you are familiar with the ELOF. We do have some that aren't as familiar, and again, if you want to learn more, go to your resource, and download that viewer's guide, and we've included resources there. You can dig a little deeper. You can also check out the Teacher Time episode, and they dig even more into approaches to learning, so we've got some really great resources there for you as well.
All right. We see we've got kind of a mix there. Thank you for those that kind of went through that little bit of a review. Again, thank you for those that maybe this is your first time hearing about it, and we just invite you to dig deeper with us. All right. I'm going to end the pulse check, and we're going to move on.
When we think about cognitive self-regulation, which is what we're focusing in on today, it … These are some of the goals here for infants and toddlers, and so you remember, we see these goals here. They're related to those … When we think about these goals they're broad statements of expectations that we have for children their learning and development, and so these goals really describe these broad skills, behaviors, and concepts within a specific subdomain. We know that there … It's really essential and important for success in school, and these are sometimes maybe kind of referred to as standards when we're thinking about state early learning guidelines.
These goals here, what you see here, this is all about what we want children to be able to do. That's why you see kind of child there kind of at the beginning, right? These shouldn't be confused with a coachee's goal. As coaches, we work with coachees, and we develop goals that they work on around a specific practice, right? These goals here that you see of what we want children to be able to may be a starting point for writing an action plan, right? You may look at this and say, "OK, if this is what we're really focusing in on for a child to do, then what as education staff, as a home visitor, as a teacher, as a teacher assistant, what does that mean for my own specific practice that I'm working in?” I just kind of wanted to point that out there, kind of the difference in those two different kinds of goals there.
Then here, just to kind of show you here, here are some examples of the goals for preschoolers within this subdomain. Again, if you want to kind of know more and dig deeper, then we invite you to check out your resource list, and there's lots of great things there for you to dig into. But again, these can be used to help write a goal between a coach and a coachee.
Then for each goal, just real quickly, there's kind of this developmental progression, and that progression really just describes the skills, behaviors and the concepts that children are going to demonstrate as they progress towards a given goal within an age period, and so just to know that these aren't just kind of cut-and-dry. But it is kind of about this developmental progression, and that developmental progression is really going to be important to consider when we're writing action plans with coachees, that we're going to want the coachee to really think about where the child or the children are related to the progression of these skills around a certain subdomain because that goal for the coachee could look a little bit differently depending on where those children are that they are working with.
Again, just something else to think about there. With all that being said, kind of just did a quick review of what is approaches to learning and this subdomain. I'm going to hand it off to my wonderful colleague, Sarah.
Sarah Basler: Thanks, Joyce. OK, Joyce mentioned that Amelia is our expert that's joining us today, and we're going to shift into the Mindful Moment segment, and as a reminder, this is a new segment to Coaching Corner that we really enjoy. The Mindful Moment is where we're going to take the content that's the focus and talk a little bit about how it can affect you in your role as a coach. Today, our guest expert, Amelia, is going to tell us a little bit more about executive functioning and how it relates to you and your role as a coach. Amelia, could you introduce yourself?
Amelia Bachleda: Yeah, I'm so pleased to be here today. My name is Amelia Bachleda, and I'm a colleague here at DTL. I'm based at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, which is a research institute at the University of Washington in Seattle. We spend a lot of time thinking about early childhood development and brain development. I am so excited to be here to talk about one of my most favorite topics.
Sarah: We had a shout-out to I-Labs in our chat. Hannah did an internship in Spain with I-Labs, so it's really cool. We've already got a fan.
Sarah: All right. Just, we want to thank you again for being here today, and we wanted to start out by having you share a little bit about what executive function is.
Amelia: Yeah, absolutely. Executive function skills are really a suite of cognitive skills that are essential for learning, planning, solving problems. I like to sort of bin them into four categories. One is short-term or working memory, so being able to remember things for a short period of time like a task that you have to do today. All of us probably have like a zillion tasks we have to do today, or the rules of a game that you just learned, something like that. Another one is flexible thinking, so the ability to think flexibly and creatively and to do that switching between tasks that we also all have to do a lot. Self-control, that's the ability to sort of resist our impulses and then attention and focus, so really being able to stay focused on the task at hand like, for example, this webinar.
Sarah: Yeah, really, all the really important skills that you need to be able to do to function. What are some things that coachees can do to help support the executive functioning for the families and children that they work with?
Amelia: Yeah, I think one of the really important things to know is that we really build our executive functioning skills over the course of our childhood. You can see on the slide here, there's a graph that shows how those executive function skills are growing over the course of our lifetime. Scientists don't really think that we fully develop these skills until well into our twenties and maybe our early thirties, so what that means is that infants and toddlers, they're just beginning to build these skills, right? You can see if you look at the graph, there's a lot of development that happens, but they're really working on building up those skills. For example, children really aren't able to begin to control their impulses until they're about 5 years old and oftentimes, parents and sometimes educators too, really expect children to have more self-control than they do, and the reality is that children’s brains just aren't ready yet. It's not as though they are doing this on purpose, right? I think it's really helpful for parents to know that their children aren't purposely trying to challenge us with their behavior. Their brains just aren't ready for that yet. They're still developing these skills.
Research has also shown that one of the best things that parents and education staff can do to support children’s executive functioning skills is something called autonomy support. Autonomy support, that is basically supporting a child in accomplishing what they want to do instead of doing something for them, so that would be something like guiding them as they build a block tower or wash their own hands instead of intervening and taking over. We also know how much kids like to do it on their own, right? This is an area where coachees can really help support families. For example, they can help families understand that supporting children doing age-appropriate tasks but really letting the child takes the lead helps build these important cognitive skills that we've been talking about, these executive functioning skills. It lets the child be that problem-solver by working through these new and tricky tasks and also supports the pride that they feel in doing it on their own, right, like we were just talking about. They love to do it on their own. I think this is one of those things that is really great, but it's easier said than done, right? It's really tricky. It is hard to just sit there and patiently watch a child working oh-so-slowly through a task or maybe spilling some water as they're pouring something, only to jump in to provide that sort of guiding support.
I think what's interesting about this is that it really takes a lot of executive functioning skills from the adult if you think about it, right? If we're thinking about all those executive functioning skills, right, the adult has to pay attention to what the child is doing, resist their impulse to do the task for the child, think quickly and flexibly in the moment to come up with just the right amount of support. Like, how much do I care about this water that's spilling? What do they need? How can I help the child through this task that they're doing? Coachees can really think about modeling these behaviors. That's a great way to help support parents and families learn these skills and getting that just the right amount of support that lets the child take the lead.
Sarah: I'm having some flashbacks from getting out the door to go to school this morning of helping my son put his socks on, 3-and-a-half-year-old.
Amelia: Just the right amount of support. [Laughter]
Sarah: Yeah, just the right amount. You're talking about autonomy support, and I'm wondering how might family and cultural practices play into that autonomy support?
Amelia: Yeah, I'm really glad that you asked this question because this is going to look different from family to family and culture to culture, right? In some cultures, children are really expected to sort of watch and learn from the adult first rather than the adult sort of following that child's lead, and then the child, once they've watched and learned, follows along, and does something beside the adult. If you think about it, doing something alongside the adult is also learning in this very similar way. That adult is trusting the child with this information and helping the child to learn to eventually do that task themselves through this modeling process, so having a conversation with families about how they teach their children to do new things can really help you sort of adapt the support that you're providing to best help meet the family's culture and their expectations.
Another sort of global thing to think about is helping to reduce stress. It is a stressful time right now, and nothing impacts our executive function skills more than stress. I am sure that we have all experienced this before when we are stressed. It is almost impossible to focus. Our executive functioning skills are just the first thing out the window. Supporting families as much as possible to reduce their stress from connecting them with resources to really ensuring there's clear and consistent communication, that can be a huge support in just helping to bring that stress level down a little bit.
Sarah: I think also, too, speaking from the parent's side of it, like transparency, knowing what's coming, knowing all the things about all the things can help reduce that stress. It sounds like a lot of the things that you were talking about sound very similar to what a coach might do with a coachee, but could you talk a little bit more about how a coach can really support these skills for coachees?
Amelia: Yeah, I think one of the things that we often think about for executive functioning skills are maybe those games out there that help to train your brain, but the reality is that playing those games just really helps you get better at those games. One of the most important ways that we build executive functioning skills, whether that is for children or coaches or coachees, that's thinking about building them in contexts that are really meaningful and important to us. Like, what's important in our own lives? Remembering, too, that executive functioning skills are really cognitively demanding. They're hard, right? That's part of one of the reasons why we're stressed, first to go out the window.
Handing somebody a planner isn't going to help too much, right? Like, "Here is a planner. Good luck with your executive functioning skills.” Like, I don't know about you, but I've got a stack of planners, and they're not really filled out. But I love this question, though, because coaching is really the perfect context to think about executive functioning skills. You're working with education staff in a meaningful context that's really meaningful to you both, and you can work together to make a plan. When we think about what skills they would like support into, so what's meaningful to them? Do they want to build more capacity or flexibility to respond at the moment? For example, to really work on that focus test at hand, right, when there's a million things coming at you. How can I build skills to focus to plan lessons or sessions for the children and families they serve? Another thing is thinking about setting out clear, specific goals. That's really the first step, so what is it that they're interested in working in and then helping to think about what are the clear, specific goals that are achievable?
Then from there, it's also really important to thinking about breaking those down into smaller bite-sized steps to reach that goal, and we can do this together. We also think about doing this for children. Probably, like as you were saying earlier, trying to get out the door, right? It's one thing to tell a child, "Get ready to go off to school.” For a lot of kids, it's like, "OK, find your shoes. Put on your shoes. Find your jacket. Put on your jacket," so breaking things down to these tinier pieces. When we think about that larger goal, using the sort of more achievable smaller steps really makes it more attainable. Then, finally, collaborate on thinking about assessing progress towards that goal, so working together to have some of those regular check-ins to really help support the ups-and-downs of building a new skill.
There's probably going to be ups and downs in this process. I think that is really important. Like, progress does not always look like a linear path for any of us. Learning does not look like a linear path. I think sometimes in our mind, we have this idealized idea about it, but there are loops and turns, and I think it's really important to help coachees not feel too frustrated or defeated as they're learning and implementing a new skill.
Sarah: Yeah, a lot of the things that you were saying just, it felt very much like talking about practice-based coaching. Autonomy support, I mean, we do that with our coachees when we're working on goals with them, and we're working with them, not doing it for them, breaking down these goals to be attainable and bite-sized steps because it makes it really clear for them what's going to happen and where they're going. But here, I thought this was a great place to make a connection to one of our practice-based coaching coach competencies. One of the competencies that are in with the domain two, which is collaborative partnerships, is that coaching, all coaching occurs in this context of these collaborative partnerships. It takes self-awareness and self-management to establish and maintain these trusting relationships with coachees and by working with a coachee to support or enhance these skills and strategies related to the practices that they want to implement in their environment, it's actually helping them build their executive functioning skills as well and as well the adults. I thought that was really cool and a really clear connection.
If you want to know a little bit more about the PBC coach competencies, there is a link within the resource section of the viewer's guide, so feel free to check that out and see all the competencies. Throughout the webinar, whenever we see a really close connection, we're just going to point them out for you, but feel free to dig into that resource and learn a little bit more if you haven't already. All right. This feels like the perfect segue in our last question. We've talked about what a coach can do to support coachees, what a coachee can do to support children and families, and now, let's ... I'd like to hear your thoughts about what a coach could do to support their own executive functioning.
Amelia: Yeah, I love thinking about this, and we touched on this a little bit already, but I think it's worth bringing up again is that this idea that stress impacts our executive functioning skills so much, right? It's really hard to focus, I think, flexibly when we've stretched ourselves too thin, and that's something that we all tend to do, right, coaches, education staff, parents alike. We all give so much of ourselves. I think it's important not only for our own well-being but also for the people in our lives that we are in relationship with to make that time for ourselves, right? We can show up better for others when we show up for ourself. I would say, do your best to schedule in time to sit and reflect. I think just having that quiet space can be really important. There's so much that comes to mind as well as sort of quieting the mind, and make sure that there's some dedicated time for recharging, whatever that looks like to you, and that's going to look totally different to each one of us.
Then, of course rely on the resources that you have available. Do you have access to coaching support of your own? Who do you talk to? What is your network? Lean on your colleagues and friends as much as possible and, of course, most importantly, ask for help. I think, again, as people that are helpers, it's so hard to ask for help ourselves, and I think that's a really important thing to keep in mind as we're working on building these skills.
Sarah: Yes, and especially now. I feel like everyone is so stressed, but even just making time to step away for lunch those times when it feels super busy. It's like, that might be the first thing I do is get my lunch, but taking time for yourself. One of the things that …
Amelia: It's so worth it.
Sarah: Yes, totally. You talked about having a network of colleagues, and that made me think of the practice-based coaching community on MyPeers. For those of you that don't know, MyPeers is a social network where early childhood professionals can brainstorm, exchange ideas, hear resources with colleagues from across the country. Members can join a variety of communities and work groups within MyPeers, but it feels like this might be a really good outlet for those of you that maybe don't have a coaching network within your program or in your region, and so we've included a link within the viewer's guide to sign up for MyPeers if you're interested, but that, we encourage you to get a network of coaches or colleagues where you can kind of bounce ideas and just talk through things that maybe other people are going through as well and get some questions answered.
All right. Thank you so much, Amelia, for letting us pick your brain about executive functioning skills. I feel like you shared a lot of great tips and strategies and things to think about for when we're working with children, families, coachees, and for ourselves. Thank you so much for talking with us today.
Amelia: Absolutely. My pleasure. Thanks for having me and for all the work that all of you do.
Sarah: All right. Now, we are going to get in some coaching practice, and we're going to focus on writing effective goal statements, and these goal statements are going to be related to these practices within cognitive self-regulation or that executive function. All right.
But before we do that, I kind of wanted to take a ... We wanted to know how everyone is feeling about ... How you're feeling about writing goals currently. If you'll answer the poll, you're either feeling confident about creating shared goals, you feel somewhat comfortable, or you would love more practice to feel confident. Go ahead and take a minute to answer this poll.
I know that for me personally, when I first started out coaching, goal-writing was kind of challenging, and I felt more like I needed more practice. It's one of those skills that I feel like as coaching goes on, you kind of develop it. It's like a muscle that you grow.
Oh, it looks like here, we've got pretty much a variety of responses, but it looks like people are feeling somewhat comfortable creating shared goals, so somewhere in the middle. That feels about right. I feel like shared goals, writing shared goals is one of the things that it might feel challenging because so much rides on it, right? Having a clear goal is really important for coachees to know what to do and for coaches to know what they're looking for when they go into that practice environment.
All right. Well, I think that we've got some tools to share to help everyone out here to get a little bit more practice writing these goals, so I want to share a tool with you, and as I mentioned, writing clear goals and action plans, it's important because they really serve as that road map to PBC. When the goals are clear, everyone knows what, when and how to use these practices in the goal, then it just helps everyone out, coachees and coaches alike.
Here is a tool that you can use to help you check the quality of your action plan, and it's called the Action Plan Quality Checklist from the National Center of Pyramid Model Innovations, and for today, we are only going to be focusing on the goal statements and working on revising those practices to be specific, observable, measurable and achievable. This tool, we have a link for it in your viewer's guide, but it's important that if the first two indicators are, if you check no on those, it might mean that you want to revise your goal, so we want to make sure that we have a specific action that a coachee is going to do, and that those actions can be counted or measured, and then we also really want to think about when these are going to happen. When would a coachee use these practices?
Then, another connection here to our coaching competencies is within domain three, the goal setting and action planning. You see, an effective PBC coach collaborates with the coachee in development of those goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable within a specific period of time, so we're touching on kind of that autonomy support that Amelia was talking about with us, that we're collaborating and that we're writing these specific, measurable and achievable goals. Let's get some practice. All right.
Our first goal statement that we are going to revise, what we'll doing on the next few slides is: I will present you with a goal statement, and we're going to see how we could revise this. We see here, "I will model flexibility and persistence.” Model is, in fact, an action that we could see a coachee do. However, it's not super specific, so I'm not sure what modeling might look like. Modeling can look a variety of ways, so we want to maybe think about how we could make that behavior more observable. Then if we look at, can this be counted or measured? Not really because I'm not sure what behavior I'm looking for. Modeling, yes, but if we're more specific here, then it's going to be easier to know when to count or measure it. Then, how do I know when these practices are going to be implemented? I don't really because we don't have a time of day or a specific activity that denotes when we're going to implement this. A coachee might find this a little challenging to implement because they might not know where to start, so it's not narrowed down to a specific time of day. Let's think about how we could revise this. Use the Q&A widget to share how you might revise this goal statement.
One of the things that I think is really helpful in making goal statements more observable and measurable is by adding a by statement, so, "I will model flexibility and persistence by," and giving a description of those specific behaviors can help, also even writing out an example. An example could be helpful to a coachee or a coach to know what it is that they're looking for. Feel free to fill out the Q&A. I'm not seeing any responses popping up, so let's give it. Let's give a go. Here is our attempt to revise this goal statement, and I would just like to say that this not the ... There's not one specific way to write a goal. You could have rewritten this or revised this in a variety of ways, but this is just an example that we've pulled up. It says, "I will model flexibility and persistence by," so there, we have a by statement, "verbally pointing out when I make a mistake or have a problem. Example, uh oh, we ran out of blue paper. I'll use red instead, during free play.” Here, this revised goal makes it clear what the coachee will do. A by statement describes the behavior, and then examples give the coach and the coachee an idea of what it may look like and then here, we see when the coachee is going to really target to do this practice.
All right. Let's try one more. You'll see here the goal or the practice is, "I will notice and comment on a child's use of impulse control.” This statement does have a behavior that is observable. Commenting is a discrete behavior, and I could definitely count the number of times that a coachee comments. However, I feel like if we ... You need to revise the goal to be more specific about what it may look or sound like because it might be hard to know when it's actually happening, and then, of course, adding in when the coachee will use this behavior. I'm going to give you the opportunity to pop in your revisions.
Joyce: Sarah, is this our time to flex our muscles flex our goal-writing muscles?
Sarah: Yes, yes, flex your goal-writing muscles. Type how you would revise in your Q&A. Let's see. I'm starting to get some. "I will notice and comment on a child's use of impulse control during center play.” That would be one way, right? Oh, Sandra says they would make sure to add that it was stated positively. Let's see. "I will model flexibility and persistence by showing children examples of how we change our daily schedule for special events, activities, and things out of our control such as a fire drill. We will switch gears to make the best choices for our program, health, and safety.” That has a lot of things in there and even brings in the daily schedule. I'm going to read one more, and then we'll see how we revised it: "During circle time, I will notice and comment on a child's use of impulse control and share their examples.” This is an example of where they're going to comment but then share back with the rest of the group.
All right. Thank you so much for your responses, and let's check here. We have adjusted. This is our take on how to make the quality a little bit better. I will comment on children’s use of impulse control, for example, using calming … When children are using calming strategies, kind words and gentle touches during centers by providing positive, descriptive feedback.” The goal statement provides examples of when this coachee might comment on children’s use of impulse control, so when a child is using these calming strategies, I'm going to comment. This statement also includes a specific activity that the coachee is going to focus on working on these skills ... It even takes it a step further by stating a by statement by providing positive descriptive feedback. This incorporates what one of our participants mentioned about framing it in a positive lens, and then it provides an example. "Zion, you stayed so calm when art was full," and this really helps to connect to what it might look like, what you might notice a child that's using this impulse control.
As we mentioned earlier, when we make connections with the Teacher Time basic strategies, we're going to point it out, and so here, we've done that with the little A block. When we focus ... This is A for attend to and encourage appropriate behaviors, so when we focus our attention on the behaviors we want to see, children are more likely to repeat those behaviors. All right.
Last, this goal statement is going to lead us right into our focused observation: "Follow a predictable schedule so children gain a general idea of what will happen at different times of day.” Here, this statement is a little tricky because it seems like a specific action, but when you think about it, the word "follow" doesn't really give us a lot of information. It could be a variety of behaviors, so we really want to make that more specific. Could I count or measure it? Maybe. Follow, if we're thinking about, are we doing what we said we'd do during this time of day? If I'm a coach, I could look and say, "It's 9:00 and we're doing circle time," but I feel like we could definitely switch this up to make the quality better. It's not clear when this is going to happen. This statement says, "Throughout the day," and although I think that's great for making it applicable at different times of day, it doesn't let the coachee know when they should try this out.
Here is how we revised our goal. All right. "I will review the schedule at morning snack, before outside time, and after nap so that children know what will happen at different times of the day.” It's clear here what the coachee will do and when they will do it, and you could even get a little bit more specific with naming out what review looks like.
All right. Let's take a look. I want to make sure that you get your practice in. We have revised these goal statements, and now we're going to observe a coachee implementing their goal. This goal is located in your viewer's guide, and the goal is, there's a space under it for you to write down what you're noticing, and the goal states, "I will review the schedule at morning, snack, before morning outside time, and after nap.” As you watch the video, look for the coachee implementing this goal. Is the schedule posted? Does the teacher refer to this schedule, and are the children engaged? Then we'll briefly reflect before we head on out.
Person: You ready? Let's look at our schedule. Let's see. Did we all come to school today? Did mommies and daddies come and sign us in and bring us to school?
Person: That's Bentley. Arrival time is over, finished. Did we have breakfast this morning? What did you have for breakfast this morning? You had apple sauce and had cereal. Breakfast time is over. I see it's torn. It's OK. Finished! Did you brush your teeth? Jeron, did you brush your teeth this morning? Toothbrush time is over. Finished. Let's see what's going to happen next. Let's look. Now it's time to go take a walk, and we go have some active time. Let's go to the door. Let's go to the door so we can take a walk. Are you ready? Let's go to the door. Time for active time.
Sarah: All right. Thinking about that clip you just saw, what were some of the things that you noticed this teacher doing related to the action plan? Joyce, what were some of the things that you noticed?
Joyce: There was a lot to see there, right? Well, I noticed that she posted that visual schedule, that she did have that visual schedule up, and it was at eye level and that she was also having the children get involved in kind of the review of the schedule, right? Those were just a few of the things that I saw.
Sarah: I noticed those, too. Feel free to pop your responses in the Q&A, and what about the children in the video? Did they seem engaged with the schedule review? You see, like, three children within the frame.
Joyce: Yeah, definitely. I thought that she did a really great job of kind of drawing their attention to the schedule and kind of gets them to try and remember like what happened before in the day and kind of what's coming next. I thought she did a great job at that.
Sarah: Thinking about prepping for the reflection and feedback meeting, what might be some questions you would ask this teacher to get her thinking about her practice?
Joyce: Oh, my gosh. I would probably ask her about what changes or impacts she's seeing kind of in children’s behavior since implementing that schedule review or maybe even kind of what supports does she need now that she's tried it out and is using it? Like, what supports does she need from, let's say, me as a coach to help her kind of maintain that practice in the future? Because sometimes, you don't know what you need until you kind of try something out.
Sarah: Yeah. Well, I love that you mentioned the help maintain the practice because often we think, even in our action plan, it says, "Date completed," but really, what we're doing is adding to our tool box. We're not really just not going to do the schedule review anymore because we've accomplished that goal. It's about maintaining those practices, so I liked that you might ask how you can help make this a part of this teacher's daily routine. Those are great, great questions. All right. Well, thank you, guys, so much for joining in with our coaching practice. I'm going to turn it over to Joyce to talk about focus on equity.
Joyce: That's it. Now, we just want to touch on, focus on equity and do that by highlighting a resource that you can use. When we think about practices related to kind of the subdomain and the practices that can really help support and improve young children’s executive function, one resource that we think about is the Pyramid Model practices and the Equity Coaching Guide that we highlighted and talked about in past webinars. The Pyramid Model Equity Coaching Guide really kind of provides some ideas and strategies that coaches can kind of use to reflect. There's even a reflection tool there so that they can kind of look at implementing, so this is specifically around those Pyramid Model practices through kind of that lens of being culturally responsive. You can really use this kind of looking at your own coaching practice. In there, if you want to pull that resource, and it's included with the resources. You can go to step three, and it kind of talks about things about schedules and rules being in print and kind of that home language that all children receive positive descriptive feedback, those kind of things, so wanted to point that out.
A couple of things as we're wrapping up too that we wanted to highlight was another resource that's included in the resource, in your resources, is this from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. This is a set of resources that you and your coachee can kind of look and dig into to identify practices that maybe they want to try out, so want to definitely highlight that. Again, check out that samples needs assessment that Sarah just went through. That's also part of your resources, and it wouldn't be a Coaching Corner if we didn't have Koko. We're going to put him up to kind of take us out, and once we finish with Koko, know that you're going to ... We're going to end, and you're going to have an evaluation link come up. We're going to invite you to leave your browser open once we finish up, so you can fill out your evaluation. We're going to have Koko kind of wrap us up for today.
Koko: Hi, my name is Koko, and I love using the Head Start Coaching Companion! I just learned six cool things about how the Head Start Coaching Companion can support your work with children and families! No. 1: Did you know that the Head Start Coaching Companion aligns with Practice-Based Coaching? No. 2: Did you know that the Head Start Coaching Companion is flexible to support various needs such as a community of practice? No. 3: Did you know that you can access the Head Start Coaching Companion on your phone or mobile device? No. 4: Did you know it’s easy to upload your own video clips to share? No 5: Did you know that you can time-stamp video clips? Finally, No. 6: Did you know that anyone can use it, anytime and anywhere! For more information, e-mail coachingcompanion at eclkc dot info.
Joyce: We want to say, thank you guys for joining us today. Thank you, and we will see you on MyPeers.Close
Learn about cognitive self-regulation, also called executive functioning. Self-regulation is a suite of cognitive skills that is essential for learning, planning, and problem-solving. Explore strategies to support executive functioning skills in children birth to 5, coachees, and yourself. Discover resources you can use and share.
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