Can preschool teachers become parenting coaches?

Published October 13, 2017

In their daily work, they already have many interactions with parents. These can be frustrating: parents may be critical of the teachers, not understanding what the preschool is trying to achieve. These interactions could, however, also become significant opportunities to guide parents towards the best ways to support their children’s learning and development at home.

BvLF has launched an experimental project in partnership with the Israel Ministry of Education to explore this idea. Foundation partner the NCJW Research Institute for Innovation in Education will initially train 100 preschool teachers. Demand for places is high: over 130 teachers attended the launch event, held at the Ministry of Education in Tel Aviv earlier this month. The Ministry has expressed an interest in scaling up the project if it proves to be worthwhile.

The launch event included a talk on parenting, creative thinking and education by Eyal Doron, and teachers discussing the challenges they face in working effectively with parents and exploring potential solutions. There was significant enthusiasm for the initiative among participants, who expressed the view that their teacher training had equipped them to interact well with children, but not necessarily also with their parents.

The two-year, 24-session course will cover theoretical and practical issues connected to child development, modern parenting, parental authority, establishing boundaries, emotional stability, the adult’s role in strengthening children’s social skills, playfulness and games, ability to listen, and supporting independence.

Under the leadership of the Ministry, BvLF is helping to fund the programme as part of our Parents+ investment area, which explores novel ways to support parents. One of BvLF’s key contributions is to support mentors who will accompany each preschool teacher in the practical application of what they have learned, as they prepare and implement parenting activities in their own preschools.