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Training for COSP Facilitators

Training Pathways for Professionals

Training Pathways for COSP Facilitators

COS Classroom Approach: A Two-Tier Model for Early Care

There are further training opportunities for COSP Facilitators interested in helping early care professionals in early care settings to apply attachment theory using the Circle of Security. For more information on training opportunities and the steps to endorsement as a COS Classroom Coach, click on each topic below to learn more.

Learning COSP Classroom Approach begins with attending our Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator training, which lays the foundation to become a registered COSP Facilitator and offers a path to secure relationships with primary caregivers.

Click here to register for a training.

Learning in the COSP Classroom Facilitator Course will be enriched if your previous experiences includes facilitation and practice with the use of the COSP video program since, to deepen the learning, the Facilitator Course invites reflections on your previous work. It is particularly helpful if some of your previous work includes early care professionals.

An additional online training focuses on facilitating COSP with childcare providers and/or preschool teachers to prepare facilitators interested in helping early care professionals to apply COSP principles into group care settings. Gain insight both in ways to help teachers use COSP to manage relationship struggles while holding multiple Circles in the classroom, and to organize their understanding about the complexity of relationships in working directly with children while partnering with parents.

The learning objectives of this training are:

  • To recognize key differences in facilitation with primary caregivers versus professional care providers.
  • To learn to more effectively identify miscues in the classroom with struggling children and to better help teachers move away from focusing on a behavioral intervention to a relationship intervention.
  • To better understand ways that knowing COSP Classroom improves the well-being of both children and teachers in the classroom.
  • To explore the central importance of teachers in the lives of young children and the role relationship plays in learning.
  • To learn more about additional COSP early care provider/teacher handouts and classroom tools.

Completing this training is the pre-requisite for delivering Tier 1 of the COSC Approach with early care providers.

Learn more and register for this training here.

Registered Facilitators who complete this master training will receive additional facilitation materials including a revised COSP Classroom Facilitator manual and handouts, and will receive additional endorsement as a Registered COSP Classroom Facilitator.

Having fidelity to the COSP model of change is foundational to developing coaching competencies. If you’re interested in becoming a COSC Coach (Tier 2 of COSC Approach), the next step is to participate in Fidelity Coaching and/or complete the online Path to Secure Hands Learning Series.

Click here  to learn more about Fidelity Coaching.

Click here  to learn more about The Path to Secure Hands Learning Series.

Understanding COSP Facilitator Endorsement on the Pathway to Becoming COSC Coach

At Circle of Security International it is our intention to support the continuous development of facilitators by creating levels of endorsement for the Registered COSP Facilitator. Participation in Fidelity Coaching provides another level of COSP training and facilitators are eligible to receive endorsement from Circle of Security International as recognition of the continued work and commitment to learning the Circle of Security at a deeper level.

Why be an endorsed Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator?

Because the Circle of Security is a reflection model, and the capacity for reflection is a skill that requires opportunities to practice and develop, participation in the endorsement process will provide facilitators with guidelines for reflective skill development through the lens of Circle of Security and, through this process, provide a path toward deeper understanding of the experience of COS. In addition, attending a COSP training does not guarantee that a facilitator can do the work. This requires supervision. The endorsement process also includes participation in supervision through Fidelity Coaching with a certified COSP Fidelity Coach and will serve to recognize that a COSP Facilitator has participated in another level of COS training that includes supervision.

How does endorsement work?

  1. Level One endorsement is included with participation in the COSP Facilitator training series. Complete the training and complete registration on the Circle of Security website as a Registered Facilitator. Receive a registration number. There is no cost.

  2. Go to the website and look for the COSP Facilitator Fidelity Coaching link to learn more about the process. You must start at Level II and then subsequently apply to each Level in order to continue through Level III. Please note that the Path to becoming an endorsed COSC Coach does not require participation beyond Level II.

  3. Use the chart below of the different levels of endorsement for more information about the requirements for each level of endorsement.

Level I
COSP Facilitator I


Complete COSP Facilitator training. Register on member side of the website.


Utilize Fidelity Journal and other website resources for facilitation support. Use COSP program and manual to facilitate.


Completing two COSP programs is a prerequisite for Level II participation.

Level II
COSP Facilitator II


Facilitate at a minimum one COSP program while participating in weekly Fidelity Coaching (receive coaching using the COSP Fidelity Journal).


Demonstrate competency in program fidelity and recognizing strengths and struggles in COSP facilitation.


Completing Level II requirements is a prerequisite for enrollment in Coach Training (some Classroom coaches in training may need to complete more than one round).

The Learning Collaborative offers instruction and guidance on working directly with early care professionals. Prior experience and continued access to this population ensures the most robust learning experience for participants on this training path to Endorsed COS Classroom Coach.

Training in COSC Coaching happens with enrollment in the COS Classroom Coach Training where Registered COSP Classroom Facilitators receive instruction and learning on how to help early care providers and teachers apply COS principles in the classroom. At this stage the COSP Classroom Facilitator shifts to becoming a COSC Coach-in-Training (CIT).


  1. Complete COSP Facilitator training.
  2. Complete online COSP Classroom Facilitator Course.
  3. Experience facilitating COSP.
  4. Complete Fidelity Coaching Level II or online Path To Secure Hands learning series.
  5. Experience facilitating COSP Classroom in early care settings.
  6. Experience consulting in early care settings.


  1. Participate in the COS Classroom Coach Training.
  2. Share lessons from the field using video.
  3. Learn to use coaching tools and handouts and the COSC Coaching Instruction Manual.


  1. COSP Classroom facilitation.
  2. Fidelity to the model in facilitation.
  3. Early care consultation.

Endorsement comes after completion of participation in the COS Classroom Coach Training.


  1. Complete the COSP Facilitator training.
  2. Complete online COSP Classroom Facilitator Course.
  3. Complete Fidelity Coaching Level II or online Hands learning series.
  4. Fulfill CIT participation requirements in COS Classroom Coach Training.
  5. Licensed and endorsed with COSI as COSC Coach.


  1. Endorsed COSC Coaches can provide coaching with early care professionals using the COSC Approach.
  2. Licensed to use the title "Endorsed COSC Coach."
  3. Training others in the COSC Approach requires additional supervision and training.


  1. COSP Classroom Facilitation
  2. Fidelity to the model both in facilitation and coaching.
  3. Early care consultation.
  4. Follows Practice Based Coaching model.
  5. COSC Coaching tools and handouts.
  6. Experience with the COSC Coaching Instruction Manual.

COSP Classroom Facilitator Course

The COS Classroom Approach is a two tier approach to bring theory into practice. Practitioners who attend the COSP Facilitator training are introduced to Circle of Security Parenting with a primary focus on how to facilitate COSP with parents/primary caregivers. To Implement COSP with fidelity to early care professionals, we require registered COSP Facilitators to get further training in facilitating COSP Classroom Professional Learning Series to learn to reflect on COSP principles with early care professionals.

We now offer an additional online Facilitator Course that focuses specifically on facilitating Tier 1: COSP Classroom Professional Learning Series with early care professionals. Gain insight both in ways to help providers use COSP Classroom to manage relationship struggles while holding multiple Circles in the classroom, to organize their understanding about the complexity of relationships in working directly with children while partnering with parents, and to consider ways to use COSP Classroom principles to create relationship friendly classrooms.

The COSP Classroom Facilitator Course is an online asynchronous training that utilizes theory and knowledge of human behavior from attachment theory, social learning, family systems theory, and early childhood development, while it prepares Registered COSP Facilitators to deliver COSP Classroom and bring to early care professionals the knowledge, practice, and skills of young children’s social-emotional developmental needs into group care settings.

Registered COSP Facilitators who complete the Facilitator Course will receive access to additional facilitation materials including a revised COSP Classroom facilitator manual and handouts developed specifically with educators in mind. You will also receive additional endorsement as a Registered COSP Classroom Facilitator.

You will have 60 days to complete the course from the time you first log on. The course has been approved for 16 Continuing Education credits, and you should anticipate that it will take approximately 16 hours of work to complete the content to become an Endorsed COSP Classroom Facilitator.

If you are a Registered COSP Facilitator interested in enrolling in the COSP Classroom Facilitator Course, click below to register.

Three key things that help facilitators bring COSP CLASSROOM to early care professionals:


Make it Personal

COSP is specifically designed to engage each participant's attachment system. For any carer, the surest way to get them experiencing what COSP has to offer is to have them focus on their own experience within close relationships, either as a parent and their relationships with their own children or in other close personal relationships. It may seem counterintuitive that early care professionals should focus on themselves personally in relationship (rather than their "professional self") but we're so convinced that filtering the COSP program through the personal lens is critical, that we've written this into our contract for Registered COSP Facilitators.


Teachers as Attachment Figures

There are some common misperceptions of attachment. First, that attachment is an absolute state characteristic of the relationship to the mother. Or that it’s only in the child, or only in the parent. But in fact, we know that it’s in the relationship. And that it happens with more than one relationship. The study of attachment is about that child, that someone, and how they are together. Being an attachment figure is integral to the job of parenting yes, but are teachers attachment figures?

Attachment relationships are hierarchical. When available, children will always pick their number one person to turn to. But when that number one person isn’t available, the child can’t suspend their need for their go-to-person. Just like we don’t wear a seatbelt only on the days when we have an accident, children always need an attachment person there, just in case. If young children go to school and don’t have that just in case person, it’s hard to learn.

Teachers are not parents, that’s true. And so, for a teacher, being an attachment figure is more a choice to the job. So that’s why as facilitators there needs to be an emphasis that it’s to the advantage of the teacher to be an attachment figure. These conversations can be difficult and the COSP Classroom Facilitator Course offers facilitators ways to explore these topics with confidence.


A Continuing Commitment

We ask a lot when we ask parents of multiple kids to apply COSP at home. Applying COSP with a classroom full of three-year olds is even more challenging. Not only that, but the degree to which early care settings value and support providers to be creative in prioritizing young children's attachment needs varies widely. We've learned that getting COSP to "take root" in any preschool setting requires more than completing the 8-chapter COSP program. What's needed is a "Circle-informed professional" who can both interface with key leaders in the preschool and meet regularly (following the 8-chapter program) with the teachers. We're now endorsing COSC Coaches.

Learn more about facilitating COSP with childcare providers.

COS Classroom Coach Training

After completion of Tier 1, COSP Classroom Professional Learning Series, teachers are ready to participate in Tier 2, COSC Coaching for guided implementation of COS concepts in the classroom. COSP Classroom Facilitators who complete the COSP Classroom Facilitator Course and are interested in providing coaching with early care professionals in the preschool setting require further training and endorsement as a COSC Coach. Endorsement comes after participation in the COS Classroom Coach Training where Coaches-in-Training learn to use COSC Classroom coaching tools and protocols to reflect and explore with early care professionals. The COS Classroom Coaching Training combines a blended learning experience that includes both synchronous and asynchronous training for coaches-in-training over the course of one year.

The big picture of Tier 2 with teachers is to look at:

  1. How to create relationship friendly classroom structures/protocols.
  2. How to address unmet needs of specific children.

We use specific approaches such as Primary Groups, Sanctuary Time, and the Coming and Going in Childcare to help establish this structure. Tier 2 helps teachers shift from understanding children’s relationship needs in theory to how a specific child’s relationship needs are not being met. We talk about COS as a behavior translation approach where we translate what seems to be dysfunctional or problematic behavior into communication about unmet needs. In theory this all makes sense, but practically, when a child is pouring the pitcher of milk over another child’s head, it is difficult to sort out the underlying need.

Listen to the teachers in the following video as they use the language of the Circle of Security to organize their understanding of relationship needs of children in the classroom and how it brings clarity to a plan of action to meet those needs.

If you are a Registered COSP Facilitator interested in enrolling in the COS Classroom Coach Training, click below to register.

COS in the Classroom

So how did the teachers in the above video learn to, as they put it, "build deeper relationships" and manage the "monumental task" of being the first person outside of the family to create a trusting relationship with a young child? COSC Coaches not only facilitate COSP groups with teams of childcare providers and/or teachers, they follow up with their group members in their classrooms for ongoing Practice Based Coaching. Using tools first tested by our COSC learning collaborative, the Classroom Coach helps teachers begin to filter their understanding of children that they are struggling with through the lens of the Circle of Security. Assessing "behavior problems" by looking at the attachment needs "behind" the behavior can offer fresh perspectives about strategies to "manage behavior." From review of short video clips of provider-child interactions to real-time analysis of key transitions like the morning drop-off, the COSC Coach learns to help providers "diagnose" children's struggles using the Circle. At the same time, providers are asked to look beyond the "problem children" to identify those whose attachment needs might be hidden. Coaching tools and classroom assessments help providers develop plans that support the development of secure attachments with children in their classrooms.

Practice Based Coaching

A benefit to a group of teachers who have participated in the COSP Classroom Professional Learning Series is that there is now a shared understanding and common language when reflecting together on children’s behaviors. This shared language begins a journey toward a deeper understanding of the needs of children. As an attachment model, there is a circularity in this process. How do we know if early care providers are learning to be more aware of how they are feeling, to recognize how they feel affects their behavior with children, then to see the effects this has on the children’s behavior, which then affects how teachers feel? Practice Based coaching with an endorsed Classroom coach expands the score from teaching practices/learning outcomes to all aspects of caregiver/child relationships.

Practice-based coaching (PBC) is an evidence-based approach with early care professionals designed to support teachers’ use of effective teaching practices that lead to positive outcomes for children. It is a cyclical process that includes three components: collaborative partnerships, shared goals and action planning, focused observation, and reflection and feedback. Explored in this collaborative context, the Classroom Coach uses the COS Classroom Approach to increase the providers understanding of behavior and move toward attending to the attachment needs of the child.


Reflective Consultation Example with a Preschool Teacher

     "How long before my mommy comes?" It was the third time that day that Annie had approached her preschool teacher with this question. And each time her teacher, Tara, cringed as she responded. "Remember, Mommies leave, and mommies come back, she'll be back soon." Tara tried to sound reassuring, but couldn't hide the sick feeling that was building in her stomach. She felt like she was lying to the child, knowing full well her mom would not be back for hours. But if she told Annie the truth, she worried the child would burst into tears. Earlier in the week Tara told her that mom would be back after naptime, and all morning Annie kept crying and wanting to lie down on her cot and nap, so that when she got up her mom would be there. So Tara found herself caught in the dilemma of telling the truth and sharing Annie's distress or making up distracting half truths so she could delay the emotional outbursts. Either way, they both suffered.

     Annie's distress had been going on for the past two weeks since she started at the new preschool. This was her first time in group care away from her mother. There were large chunks of time during the day when she would scream inconsolably. Naptime was particularly stressful. Tara could feel her own anxiety growing. She tried to help Annie by having other children share stories about mommies who leave and mommies who come back at the end of the day. But still Annie cried. Tara tried reasoning with her when her mom returned at the end of the day, "See, she came back!"

     After a few weeks without success, Tara shared her struggle during a reflective consultation with the Circle of Security consultant. Together they looked at Annie's behavior through the lens of the Circle. "Where is Annie on the Circle when she comes to you and asks about her mother?"

     Tara knew that answer without hesitation. "She's not okay, so she's on the bottom of the Circle." Tara paused to consider what she had just said. "And I keep trying to push her to the top of the Circle by trying to teach her about mommy's schedule!" Given a moment of reflection, suddenly it began to make sense. "I need to meet her and be the Hands on the bottom of the Circle," thought Tara. But this moment of insight didn't help Tara to know what to do, and she was filled with uncertainty. What should she do? What could she say? But sometimes it helps to ask the question another way. What does Annie need? The consultant asked Tara to be curious about what Annie might be feeling when she asks about her mom. Could Tara tap into her own feelings? "I feel anxious. Ah yes, she too seems anxious," Tara thought. "I need to comfort her and organize her feelings by letting her know that I am here for her when mommy is gone."

     By considering her own thoughts and her own feelings, Tara was able to better understand the thoughts and feelings of the child in her care. "These are big feelings for both of you," added the consultant, "and you need Annie to know that you are there when she needs you, and that you are a safe haven for her, that you can keep her safe. You do this by being available for her when she is feeling sad and needs someone who can be the Hands."

     At the next staff reflective consultation, Tara shares the rest of the story. The next time Annie asked about her mom, Tara responded with confidence. She put her arm around Annie and let her know that she understood how hard it was and how much she missed her mom. She told Annie she would be there for her and keep her safe until her mom came back. Then she gave her a hug. Tara was happy to report that, within a day, Annie's anxiety had reduced, her tears less potent, and with a little help, she was able to fall asleep at naptime. In the presence of a Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, and Kind adult, Annie was able to find security.

Recognizing Patterns

Reflective consultation follows the Practice Based Coaching model and supports teachers to develop focused observation skills to identify children in the classroom who are struggling with attachment needs. There are necessary ingredients for the reflective process to thrive. Providing a dedicated, predictable, and consistent time for reflection creates learning opportunities. A key role of the COSC Coach in reflective consultation is to create a safe learning environment and to then explore at a deeper level the Circle of Security. Teachers use this time to learn more about classroom behaviors that are associated with struggles on the top, bottom, and Hands on the Circle. The consultant explores each interactional attachment pattern and helps teachers to identify a child who seems to fit a pattern. The group discusses each example and considers other possible interpretations of the child's interactions and behaviors. Teachers make further observations between meetings and then report back to the group. With this feedback loop that includes focused observation and time for reflection and feedback, the coaches and teachers work together to create shared goals and action plans to meet the relationship needs of children.

It's in the Relationship

The group discusses each example and considers possible interpretations of the child's interactions and the behaviors. The teachers use the reflective process to increase their observational skills. Teachers continue to build observation skills during the weeks between consultations and then report back to the group for further processing and reflection. COSC Coaches use classroom observations and video review to help teachers organize their understanding of children's behavior and create action plans. The process itself is designed to model many of the characteristics of secure relationships. The COSC Approach is grounded in creating trusting relationships and provides opportunities for learning how to become more skilled at understanding the needs underlying challenging behavior. It also serves as a powerful self-reflection tool for knowing oneself better as an early childhood professional.

Upon completion of the COS Classroom Coach Training, endorsed COSC Coaches receive an instruction manual that contains specific COSC coaching tools and protocols to help educators create classroom structures and routines that support relationships with individual children and relationship friendly classrooms.

Click here  to download the Steps for Endorsement for COSC Coaches Checklist (PDF).