The Intentional Teacher: Planning for Instruction

There is increased public attention on early childhood education and school readiness. It is essential that teachers are confident in data-driven instruction while maintaining a child-centered environment.  The environment should be one that engages children’s inquiry, creativity and problem-solving skills. We want every child who enters school to have the skills and ability to be successful. As early childhood education professionals, we know what high quality instruction looks like – and that academic preparation is only part of it. We also know that play is valuable to the social-emotional and cognitive health of children.

Here are a few suggestions for engaging children as active participants in the learning process.

  • Organize the classroom environment to promote exploration and hands-on learning.
  • Carefully monitor children’s data to guide planning and instruction.
  • Differentiate instruction for children who are at different levels of understanding.

Discover an integrated instructional approach in which the teacher organizes the learning environment. This allow for children to be immersed in experiences while using strategies that intentionally meet the needs of the group as well as the individuals within the group. This training will help teachers understand the role of individualization while also reflecting on the role of the teacher in play-based experiences.

Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at to schedule training for your teaching staff on “Intentional Planning and Teaching.”

A New Look at Professional Development

With the proposed revisions to the Head Start Program Performance Standards, we notice a distinct shift in strategies to support staff. While most experienced and efficient trainers know that “one shot, sit and get” sessions are not as productive as we might wish, sometimes whole group trainings are best in light of budgets, calendars and staff energy! However, research and best practice confirm the value of a more individualized and personalized approach. Essential Elements is ready and willing to assist as you seek the most effective and creative way to offer training opportunities for your staff.

  • Small group sessions can be arranged to match skill and experience levels and can be offered multiple times in a day at your program. These sessions are highly interactive and participant-driven. Objectives are discussed early with the group and activities are specifically designed around what your staff needs and what you want to see in your program.
  • Observation and coaching on a more individualized level can address specific needs and work from a strengths-based perspective. This method can be accomplished either on-site or ultimately through computer-based sharing. “In the moment” experiences, whether by phone and email or in person, provide excellent examples and offer conversational illustrations.
  • Whole group trainings can still be an effective way to deliver program-wide information or develop skills among team members. Larger programs may have staff groups that can gain perspective from one another; smaller programs may wish to share material among all levels and positions to cross train. Peers working together with guidance by a quality facilitator can be instructional for all.

Essential Elements has experience in small group training, observation and coaching, and whole group training. We are ready to work with your program to design the most intentional and meaningful training plan to ensure quality outcomes for your program.

Looking for custom designed and highly interactive training, give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at