March 6, 2023

Coaching to Support Friendship Skills and Problem Solving

When problems arise in early childhood settings, adults can use those opportunities to teach those targeted social and emotional skills, including friendship skills.

Join the Office of Head Start and its National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning for this webinar, and explore the resources and strategies a coach can share with coachees to support problem solving and teach friendship skills. Practice using coaching strategies by engaging in a case study focused on effective problem solving and friendship skills practices.

This webinar will have English and Spanish captioning.

Session Details

Wednesday, March 15 | 3 – 4 p.m.



Learn More

In this webinar, we’re discussing:

  • Resources and strategies to support coachees and families to teach friendship skills and problem-solving to children
  • Using coaching strategies and practicing them through a case study

This webinar benefits:

  • Coaches supporting Head Start and Early Head Start education staff in all program options
  • Education staff supporting coaches

To learn more, visit the Office of Head Start website.


November 11, 2021

Earn an ECE Degree at No or Low Cost

Are you looking to earn an early childhood degree or credential at low or no cost? The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Apprenticeship Program can help. Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form.

What is the ECE Apprenticeship Program?

The ECE Apprenticeship Program is a learn-as-you-earn career pathway that helps early learning professionals in Allegheny County earn a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree while maintaining employment at an early learning program. The program is employer-driven and flexible in meeting Apprentices’ needs.

Apprentices choose courses based on what fits in their lives and schedules and are matched with a skilled Coach who offers additional guidance, structure, and support. Join us to advance your career and elevate the important work of early childhood.

How is the program structured?

The program includes two main elements:

Most courses are offered through a synchronous model like Zoom or an asynchronous model like an online class or platform. However, in-person classes will be available in Fall 2021. Apprentices decide which learning format works best for their learning needs and schedules.

What does the program hope to achieve?

The program offers continuing education opportunities to early childhood educators and encourages a community of learning by building relationships between Apprentices and Coaches. Research shows that having well-educated, well-compensated, and supported early childhood educators:

  • reduces turnover in the field,
  • positively impacts work climates, and
  • creates a diverse, skilled workforce that is able to serve children of a variety of needs and backgrounds and work with families as partners in their child’s early education.

To support the healthy development of children and families, Pennsylvania must support the education, retention, and career advancement of professionals in the early childhood field. This program offers a pathway to do that.

Who is the ideal candidate?

This program is ideal for child care staff in Allegheny County who are looking to continue their education in early childhood or child development at low or no cost. Employers will be responsible for supporting Apprentices and Coaches in their work.

Become an Apprentice

Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at and Jasmine Davis at

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to participate?

The program provides education and materials to professionals at no or low cost. It depends on what funding is available to support the purchase of textbooks, coursework, and other materials.

What does a typical week look like?

During a typical week, Apprentices continue the important work they do with children and families at their child care center and attend class one day per week (typically at night). Apprentices also meet with a skilled Coach one night per week to talk about the coursework and how the educator will implement what they learned into their classroom.

Can I receive credit for courses I completed in the past?

Yes! Our friends at CCAC do a great job at pulling any credit hours they can for our Apprentices (even if those credit hours were earned several years ago in a different field of study). This reduces the time Apprentices spend in school to meet their required credit hours.

What do Apprentices complete?

Apprentices sit through an initial orientation to hear program details, discuss professionalism, and build relationships with program staff and other Apprentices. From there, professionals will register for and complete courses through CCAC and complete on-the-job learning hours in their center.

CDA-Level Apprentices complete 2,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center, which is very manageable throughout the course of their coursework. Associate’s-Level Apprentices complete 4,000 on-the-job learning hours in their center.

How does this tie into NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies?

The program also focuses on helping professionals achieve NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. Our Coaches meet with Apprentices to discuss what they are accomplishing in the classroom, set professional goals, and mark when the Apprentice accomplishes a goal/competency.

How did this program get started?

Sponsored through the 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, the ECE Apprenticeship Program was designed to streamline a career pathway for educators and reduce barriers to higher education (financial challenges, time responsibilities, etc.). Whether an early learning professional is looking to obtain a CDA Credential or Associate’s Degree, this program was created to help.

How is this program unique?

The ECE Apprenticeship Program is the only registered apprenticeship opportunity in Southwestern Pennsylvania that provides an Associate’s Degree track in early childhood education. Our program is also early childhood focused, which is still a very new thing in Pennsylvania.

What is Trying Together’s role? Who are the partners?

Trying Together uses our amazing network of child care providers to complete the early childhood work, provide professional development, and oversee the general operations of the program. We have partners at Partner4Work, which is a workforce development agency in the Pittsburgh area, and Literacy Pittsburgh, which offers resources to our students, including tutoring and additional support. Our partners at CCAC provide all of the coursework.

More Information

Interested applicants should fill out the Apprenticeship Interest Form. For more information or to ask a question, contact Lindsey Vicoria at and Jasmine Davis at

To stay up to date on the latest news and opportunities, sign up to receive Trying Together’s newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.


December 19, 2019

Head Start Coaching Companion Available

If you are an early care and education professional who is interested in receiving coaching feedback and sharing videos, consider using the Head Start Coaching Companion!


By utilizing the Head Start Coaching Companion, early childhood professionals will view examples of teaching practices, record their teaching interactions, and track their progress using three major components of Practice-Based Coaching (PBC), including:

    • shared goals and action planning;
    • focused observation; and
    • reflection and feedback.

Though PBC was designed with Head Start programs in mind, it aligns with a variety of coaching models.


To utilize the Head Start Coaching Companion, professionals should have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone with basic video editing software; a digital video camera, tablet, or smartphone with video capability; and reliable internet access. Video footage will be utilized to record teaching interactions.

See the Head Start Coaching Companion handout to learn more.

Learn More

To get started, educators can submit a Coaching Companion application and learn more online. View the Coaching Companion PDF or email for additional information.

*Information provided via Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5


August 8, 2019

Applications Open | Building Capacity for Coaching Initiative

In collaboration with The Pennsylvania Key, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recently announced the “Building Capacity for Coaching Initiative” in support of developing internal coaches in STAR 3 and STAR 4 facilities.


The purpose of this initiative is to leverage coaching supports from Penn State Better Kid Care (BKC) and other professional growth activities to develop internal coaches in STAR 3 and STAR 4 facilities. Selected applicants will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of early childhood practices and must have the approval of their administrator or director as this will require a time commitment.

Family Child Care providers can apply if they are able to support other family child care providers in their coaching efforts and commit the time necessary to complete the program.


    • will develop the internal capacity to offer coaching to other staff to ensure continuous quality improvement;
    • receive exceptional professional development opportunities at no cost as well as access to the Learning Community;
    • and gain valuable insight as OCDEL works to learn about needed coaching supports for ECE providers.
Coaching & Staff
    • coaches receive a one-time stipend of $2,500
    • and teachers receive supports and coaching on areas of practice that can strengthen or improve child experiences in their classroom.

What Will Be Expected

Facilities participating in this program must meet the following expectations:

    • identify a coach (lead teacher, director, assistant director, or another instructional leader);
    • have two teachers, identified by the coach, complete four free modules;
    • have coach-staff teams select one coaching guide as a framework for coaching;
    • and complete additional recommended professional development supports as needed.
    • attend a one-day in-person coach training;
    • complete two free BKC online modules;
    • observe and then facilitate bi-weekly coaching sessions with selected teachers;
    • complete a coaching log;
    • participate in monthly learning community webinars;
    • and participate in two touchpoints per month.


To apply for this program, visit their online form.

All applications must be submitted by Friday, September 20, 2019.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


For more information or questions, contact Barbara Willier at


November 8, 2018

ECE Professionals Invited to Participate in ELPIC Survey

The Early Learning Instructional Coaching (ELPIC) program is working with educators across PA to develop an Early Learning Administrator Leadership (ELAL) endorsement to support educational leaders in utilizing instructional coaching, professional development (PD), and professional learning communities (PLCs) to leverage change in pre-k-4 learning environments.  For educators with a Level I or Level II Instructional Certification, completion of the four-course sequence would result in an endorsement.

In order to best develop an endorsement that works for educators from both the K-12 and ECE worlds, ELPIC created two surveys that ask about current needs across the state and seeks to determine how the ELAL endorsement might address those needs.

Participants’ responses will be kept confidential. Data from across the state will be aggregated and used to support the endorsement proposal that will be submitted to PDE.

For ECE/K-12/IU

Please complete this survey based on your experience and the needs that you see in your district, building, or center.


Please complete this survey based on your experience preparing PreK-4 educators, as well as the needs you see in the field of early learning leadership.

Information Provided by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning


January 28, 2018

Coaching & Mentoring

Intended to promote and support awareness and strengthening of individuals’ and programs’ learning processes and professional practices, Trying Together uses a relationship-based mentoring model that is customizable to meet individual needs and enhance identified goals and interests.

Everyday Interactions Matter

One model Trying Together uses to coach early childhood professionals is Everyday Interactions Matter (EIM), the early childhood arm of Simple Interactions Matter (SIM). A strengths-based approach to supporting child- and youth-serving professionals in learning and growing from their own practice, EIM focuses on the everyday interactions between adults and children. With an emphasis on “finding the deep and simple in quality early childhood education”, we incorporate the EIM philosophy into our development offerings and connect it to our work with families.

More Information

For more information about the Everday Interactions Matter model, visit