Beyond Training

Head start servicesYou know what our high-quality trainings can do for your program, whether it be for your teaching staff, your family service workers or your Board of Directors and Policy Council.  We can also help you with our other services.  Your time is valuable, let us help you.

We offer the following services:

  • Grant Writing. We write your grant application. First, we collect information about your program. We then write the entirety of your grant application and tailor it to your program. We’ll highlight your strengths and include all the requirements necessary in the instructions.
  • Strategic Planning. Knowing where you are going is key to a program’s success. Our strategic planning services provide an opportunity to come together, as a team, and plan for the future.  We review your program’s mission and vision (or help you create them) as well as your guiding principles.  We work together to analyze your program’s strengths and challenges.  We work with you to create both long-term and short-term goals.
  • Annual Reports. Your Annual Report should capture the activities, experiences and accomplishments of your program. We will work with you to include all information required by the Head Start Performance Standards, as well any additional information which will highlight the successes of your program.  We will highlight your program’s mission, vision and core values.
  • Wage Comparability Studies. Being competitive when it comes to salaries and benefits is important. It ensures that you can hire, and retain, the best employees.  We review your program’s current salary and benefits structure, and then compare it data collected from comparable agencies.  We go beyond collecting the data. We analyze it and explain it using charts, graphs and narratives.  Armed with this information you can ensure that your program remains competitive.
  • Community Assessments. Your Community Assessment should do more for your program than fulfill a requirement; it should be a working document. It should be a resource when writing your Refunding Application, your Recompetition Grant Application, or when applying for other grants.  Our Community Assessments are custom designed to meet the specific needs of your program or agency, while meeting the requirements of the Head Start Performance Standards (and those of your CAP or other program regulations).  We also include information on Covid-19 and it’s impact on your program and the families that you serve.
  • Policy and Procedures Manuals. We can rewrite your Policy & Procedure Manual (PDM, Program Governance & all content areas) and turn it into a user-friendly document.  The Policy & Procedure Manual will be concise, with easy to find specific policies, and procedures and reflective of the Head Start Program Performance Standards.  We recommend that the order of the Policies & Procedures in the manual are reflective of the order of the Head Start Performance Standards.  We further recommend that your procedures are kept broad enough so that your program can accomplish them without having to change the policies. It also protects you so that, during a Review, you are never caught not following your own policies.

For more information on any of these services, or to request a sample, please contact susanwitek@hsessentials.com.

Supporting Our Staff As They Support Our Families

Given current circumstances, now more than ever, there is a need to support our Home Visitors, Family Service Workers and Center-based Teaching staff who cannot interact with their families in the conventional manner.

We have several options for training as these valuable professionals attempt to bridge the gap created by the pandemic, between families and programs. Please consider using some of your training and technical assistance funds to support staff who previously, consistently struggled with how best to reach their families and now have to grapple with restrictions, virtual visits and limited access not only to the children and families they serve, but also to solid, concrete ways to support them.

Mentor Coaching is an excellent way to support practitioners and teaching staff as they learn to navigate through new guidelines and restrictions on how they can reach their children and families and can be done virtually. Essential Elements is currently providing effective virtual mentor coaching to our clients for both teaching staff and family service staff.

At the heart of our mentor coaching services is a trusting, collaborative relationship with each Practitioner. Together, the Mentor Coach and Practitioner are active collaborators both focused on meeting the Practitioner’s individual learning needs. This begins with a commitment to be reliable to each other and a formal agreement to create measurable and meaningful individualized learning objectives together. This safe coaching relationship remains focused on the Practitioner’s learning, change, and growth.

Our mentor coaching services will meet the mentor coaching services requirements in the Head Start Program Performance Standards.  These services will guide your Practitioners toward improved implementation of best practices in your program, within the new boundaries in place for providing services during the COVID 19 pandemic

For more information, contact us by email or phone.

Struggling With Becoming “Trauma Informed?” We Have Solutions For Your Program.

According to NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci, “Head Start is a safe haven for more than one million vulnerable children and families, many of whom are battling the storms of addiction and other traumatic experiences.” It takes courage and commitment to work with the most vulnerable children and families in our communities.  It’s not surprising that staff are seeing the impacts of complex developmental trauma in their classrooms, as well experiencing an increase in second-hand trauma themselves. Data confirms an increase in the number of families reporting involvement with child welfare agencies, alcohol and drug dependency, domestic violence, mental illness, grandparents raising grandchildren, poor health, and housing insecurity.

Are you interested in a highly interactive and custom designed training which addresses:

  • Contemporary research on the impact and effects and stress (including chronic stress) on the development of preschool children
  • The essential elements that build stress-responsive classrooms that support the development of children at high risk for negative outcomes of stress and trauma
  • The strategies that build a “culture of support” for children and staff; developing classroom community, building self-regulation skills, and managing second-hand trauma and compassion fatigue.

We currently have availability in April and May, or for your preservice, for your program to become more aware of the effects of trauma on young children and signs of second-hand trauma, increasing effective intervention strategies for staff and children in your care. Contact us for more information.

 

Creating Realistic, Specific and Measurable Goals with Families

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families. Establishing a good working relationship with each family is the foundation for effective work with families. Have a good working relationship with each family is key in a successful goal setting process. As staff invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, having a partnership in place with each family is essential.

We believe that individualized Family Partnership Agreements are living documents and must be reflective of the people involved in setting the goals. It is important that Family Partnership Agreements are intentional, purposeful and based on the strengths and needs of each family. Family Partnership Agreements are about the relationship with the family – not the form it is written on.

This highly interactive training is an opportunity for your Family Service Workers and Home Visitors to learn new strategies as it pertains to effective goal setting with families – and practice those skills during the training.

This practice-based training will address how to set realistic, meaningful and measurable goals as well as create individualized Family Partnership Agreements. The training includes addressing topics such as:

  • Build the relationship first. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Hearing what families are saying is vital. It is important that staff spend time getting to know each family member as an individual and work to establish a comfort level with each one. This time allows staff to discover what the family is all about and what is important to them. The key is to begin this relationship at application and enrollment, building it consistently and authentically.
  • Initiate “rich” conversations with families. This training teaches the participants the stages of a helping relationship. Initiate “rich” conversations with families that get to the heart of where families are and where they want to be. This includes the family’s own timeline for goals and needs. Create a safe environment for parents to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. Know what questions to ask families in order to gain critical information to set goals.
  • Create goals that are specific, realistic and measurable. We believe that Family Partnership Agreements are not just something to complete in order to check it off of your to-do list. Family Partnership Agreements are living documents that must be intentional and individualized for each family. As this process is often something that is uncomfortable for staff, this training includes suggested language to use when setting goals with families as well as a hands-on demonstration of the process. Staff should work in partnership with parents to create goals that are realistic and measurable – and broken down into specific steps that can be attained.

Work with parents to set them up for success throughout the goal setting process. Recognize parents’ role as their child’s first and most important teacher.

Are you looking for on-site, custom designed training on Creating Realistic, Specific and Measurable Goals with Families? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Training for Home Visitors: The Role of the Home Visitor

Home Visitors have such a short period of time with families each week, yet such a big to-do list. In home-based programs, the Home Visitor is the person who brings all that Head Start or Early Head Start has to offer into the homes of our families. It’s important that Home Visitors are highly organized, focused and clear about their role.

Too often, Home Visitors take over the parents’ role of being their child’s first and most important teacher. They do this by planning the activities, bringing materials into the home, and working directly with the child at the home visit. Instead, the Home Visitor should act in the role of a Coach.

As a Coach, Home Visitors will be surprised at what happens when they step out of the spotlight and focus on what’s happening between family members. In the role as Coach, Home Visitors will learn to pivot to the parent-child relationship and the everyday interactions that support the child’s development. Coaches stay in the moment, use daily routines to help parents observe, reflect and adapt their behavior to meet their child’s needs. The role of the Home Visitor is to empower the parents to support the child’s growth and development. This approach looks for ways that parents can “get it right” so they have more confidence. This confidence will increase the parents’ skills and abilities – and support their child’s readiness for school.

We offer highly interactive and practice-based training that focuses on the Home Visitor’s role as the Coach. This custom designed Home Visitor training includes topics such as:

  • The Home Visitor as the Coach
  • Building strong relationships with families
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Safety and Awareness
  • Utilizing the Home as a learning environment
  • Successful socializations
  • Working with challenging families

Are you looking for on-site, hands-on Training for your Home Visitors on “The Role of the Home Visitor? This training will be custom designed to meet the unique role of your Home Visitors. Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Effective Case Management: Training for Family Service Workers & Home Visitors

Since Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families, they are often pulled in many different directions. This often results in challenges in doing all of the needed follow-up with families as well as linking the children and families to needed services and resources.

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors play an essential role in your program, especially in the area of case management. They begin by establishing a good working relationship with each parent. Effective work with families starts with an understanding of where parents are and where they want to go. Build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Create a safe environment for parents to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. It’s important that there is a system in place to link families to needed services and resources.

We see case management as a process that includes:

  • Establishing a good working relationship with the family
  • Implementing a goal setting process with the family
  • Linking the family to needed services and resources
  • Following up with the family regularly and maintaining good documentation and
  • “Closing the loop” to ensure that the family receives all needed services.

This highly interactive training focuses on effective case management, including a comprehensive follow-up system.  A system that includes “closing the loop” is explored – from making the referral – to ensuring that the client receives the services and that the services met the client’s needs – to documenting it all.  Case management tools as well as interactive case management activities are a part of this training.

A key piece of case management is documentation. As we say, “if it’s not written down, it didn’t happen”. It is vital that all interactions with the families and service providers are documented. Case notes must tell a story – from the initial referral… to all follow-up efforts… to delivery of services.

We utilize a strengths-based model, using each family’s individual strengths to assist them in achieving their goals. Families are the first and most important teachers of their children. They are our partners and play a critical role in their family’s development. Families have expertise about their child and their family.

This practice-based training will include:

  • Key concepts and strategies in case management
  • Successfully managing your caseload
  • Follow-up and connecting families to services
  • Documentation
  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Effective planning

Looking for training on “Effective Case Management” for your Family Service Workers & Home Visitors?  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Effective Goal Setting with Families through Motivational Interviewing

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families. Having a good working relationship with families is key in a successful goal setting process. As staff invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, having a partnership in place with each family is essential.  Another key skill to have in your toolbox, as it pertains to building successful relationships with families as well as effective goal setting, is motivational interviewing.

This highly interactive training is an opportunity for your Family Service Workers and Home Visitors to learn new strategies as it pertains to effective goal setting with families – and practice those skills during the training.

This custom designed training will address how to set realistic, meaningful and measurable goals as well as create individualized Family Partnership Agreements. The training includes addressing topics such as:

  • Developing trusting relationships. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Hearing what families are saying is vital. Initiate “rich” conversations with families that get to the heart of where families are and where they want to be.  Create a safe environment for them to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge.
  • Recognizing family’s strengths and needs. It is important that staff spend time getting to know each family member as an individual and work to establish a comfort level with each one. This time allows staff to discover what the family is all about and what is important to them – reflective goal setting. This includes the family’s own timeline for goals and needs. Know what questions to ask families in order to gain critical information to set goals.
  • Motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is the process of helping people move through the stages of change. Learn how to collaborate and support change using specific skill-building techniques. Improve how you show empathy through reflective listening. Support a parent’s desire to change by learning how to establish discrepancy and rolling with resistance. Believing that a parent can change is only half as powerful as effectively supporting a parent’s belief that they can change themselves.

Effective goal setting consists of partnering with families to create specific and measurable goals. As this process is often something that is uncomfortable for staff, this training includes suggested language to use when setting goals with families as well as a hands-on demonstration of the process. Staff should work in partnership with parents to create goals that are realistic and measurable – and broken down into specific steps that can be attained. This training includes implementing this through the SMART goal setting process.

This highly interactive and practice-based training also addresses how to engage challenging families with complex needs. It is important that Family Partnership Agreements are intentional, purposeful and based on the strengths and needs of each family. As Family Service Workers & Home Visitors invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, we need to work in partnership with parents to determine realistic and effective family goals.

Are you looking for Training on Effective Goal Setting with Families through Motivational Interviewing? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Best Practices of Family Engagement

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families. The way that they approach and build relationships with parents as well as how they engage them in the goal setting process is critical. It sets the tone for the rest of the school year. High quality family engagement includes several key elements.

  • Build the relationship. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Hearing what families are saying is vital. It is important that staff spend time getting to know each family member as an individual and work to establish a comfort level with each one. Initiate “rich” conversations with parents that get to the heart of where parents are and where they want to be. Create a safe environment for them to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. The key is to begin this relationship at application and enrollment, building it consistently and authentically.
  • Partner for goal setting. Individualized Family Partnership Agreements are living documents and must be reflective of the people involved in setting the goals. Family Partnership Agreements are intentional, purposeful and based on the strengths and needs of each family. As staff invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, they should work in partnership with parents to determine realistic, specific and realistic goals. Partner with each parent to ensure that they see the benefit of goal setting as well as identify goals that will be helpful to the family. Work with parents to create goals that are broken down into specific steps that can be attained.
  • Empower for the future. Creating capacity is a key component in empowering families and setting them up for success during their time in Head Start as well as after their time in Head Start. Recognize the importance of their role as their child’s first and most important teacher. Work closely with parents to ensure that they are fully engaged in their child’s education. Assist them in building partnerships as they enter the educational process and advocate for their child.  Create a strong partnership with each parent in order to guide and support them on the road to self-sufficiency.

The “Best Practices of Family Engagement” training includes topics such as:

  • Building successful relationships with families
  • Having hard conversations with parents
  • Moving from Helper to Partner
  • Adult education techniques
  • Implementing the PFCE Framework
  • Engaging fathers
  • Family Partnership Agreements
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Working with challenging families
  • Caring for yourself in order to care for families

Are you looking for on-site, highly interactive & practice-based training on “Best Practices of Family Engagement”? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Creating Realistic, Specific & Measurable Goals with Families

Family Service Workers and Home Visitors are the first point of contact for our families. Establishing a good working relationship with each family is the foundation for effective & comprehensive work with families. Have a good working relationship with families is key in a successful goal setting process. As staff invite each family to participate in the goal setting process, having a partnership in place with each family is essential.

We believe that individualized Family Partnership Agreements are living documents and must be reflective of the people involved in setting the goals. It is important that Family Partnership Agreements are intentional, purposeful and based on the strengths and needs of each family. Family Partnership Agreements are about the relationship with the family – not the form it is written on.

This highly interactive training is an opportunity for your Family Service Workers and Home Visitors to learn new strategies as it pertains to effective goal setting with families – and practice those skills during the training.

This practice-based training will address how to set realistic, meaningful & measurable goals as well as create individualized Family Partnership Agreements. The training includes addressing topics such as:

  • Build the relationship first. Engage and build connection with families by allowing adequate time for conversation and listening with an open mind. Hearing what families are saying is vital. It is important that staff spend time getting to know each family member as an individual and work to establish a comfort level with each one. This time allows staff to discover what the family is all about and what is important to them. The key is to begin this relationship at application and enrollment, building it consistently and authentically.
  • Initiate “rich” conversations with families. This training teaches the participants the stages of a helping relationship. Initiate “rich” conversations with families that get to the heart of where families are and where they want to be. This includes the family’s own timeline for goals and needs. Create a safe environment for parents to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. Know what questions to ask families in order to gain critical information to set goals.
  • Create goals that are specific, realistic and measurable. We believe that Family Partnership Agreements are not just something to complete in order to check it off of your to-do list. Family Partnership Agreements are living documents that must be intentional and individualized for each family. As this process is often something that is uncomfortable for staff, this training includes suggested language to use when setting goals with families as well as a hands-on demonstration of the process. Staff should work in partnership with parents to create goals that are realistic and measurable – and broken down into specific steps that can be attained. This training includes implementing this through the SMART goal setting process.

Work with parents to set them up for success throughout the goal setting process. Recognize parents’ role as their child’s first and most important teacher.

Are you looking for on-site, custom designed training on Creating Realistic, Specific & Measurable Goals with Families? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Building Successful Relationships With Parents Through Motivational Interviewing

One of the most important roles of Family Service Workers and Home Visitors is to create effective working relationships with parents. We believe in meeting parents where they are. . .and creating a strong partnership with each parent in order to guide them to self-sufficiency. Home Visitors and Family Service Workers work closely with parents to identify their strengths and needs, set family goals and provide opportunities for parents to be fully engaged in the life of their child, including in their education.  Family participation is a powerful predictor of positive child outcomes and it directly impacts children’s school readiness.

Finding the right approach for effective work with parents starts with an ability to extend empathy… to understand where they are and where they want to go. We believe in engaging and building connections with families by initiating “rich” conversations. Create a safe environment for families to share their strengths and open up about areas of challenge. Take the time to work with parents to create solutions and offer support in a patient and helpful way. Discover what each family is all about and what is important to them – recognizing their strengths and needs.

It’s essential that Family Service Workers and Home Visitors have the needed skills in order to create successful relationships with parents. Motivational interviewing is one of those key skills.  Motivational interviewing is the process of helping people move through the stages of change. Motivational interviewing includes:

  • Learning how to collaborate and support change using specific skill-building techniques;
  • Improving how you show empathy through reflective listening.
  • Supporting a parent’s desire to change by learning how to establish discrepancy and rolling with resistance.

This highly interactive, practice-based training explores the principles and stages of motivational interviewing as well as motivators of change and transformation. Motivational interviewing is a great tool to have in your toolbox when establishing successful relationships with parents. Believing that a parent can change is powerful. However, supporting a parent’s belief that they can change themselves is empowering.

Are you looking for training on “Building Successful Relationships with Parents through Motivational Interviewing?” Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.