Essential Elements Website Launch – New Look and New Virtual Options for Training

We have a new look and new focus for current times!

During the shutdown, EE has been busy updating our website and creating products that will best fit the needs of our Head Start programs. While our world has collectively shifted and nothing is likely the same for you as you begin to look at re-opening your programs, we are here to support you!

There is not a replacement for the dynamics of in-person training and learning and we recognize that. For our many clients who will not be able to access the live training venue, most of our trainings and trainers are now available virtually. While you are navigating how to re-open and are struggling with individual state and county requirements, we want to make that process a little easier if we can. We are monitoring your state and local regulations so we can support you within guidelines.

As newly granted Covid 19 funds have become available to programs we would like partner with you to meet your professional development needs. As you know, there are some requirements for training and technical assistance topics to be met. We have been working with our clients and training professionals through this process, and want to share a list of our most requested virtual training topics:

  • Self-Care Strategies for Difficult Times: Intentional Interventions for Instructors and Caregivers
  • Becoming Trauma Informed
  • Recognizing Secondary Trauma and Developing Coping Strategies
  • Managing Challenging Behaviors: How to re-integrate children to the classroom
  • The Role of the Home Visitor: adaptations for current times

Please take a look around visit our Services area, as well as our Training opportunities.

Happy Birthday Head Start!

What a great week for Head Start programs across the country! Even though we may not be together in person, we are together in spirit celebrating the history and success that is Head Start. Fifty five years ago, the activities and resources put together by a diverse team of dedicated individuals began to make a difference for children and families in our country. As President Lyndon Johnson stated at that time, “We set out to make certain that poverty’s children would not be forever more poverty’s captives.”

The Head Start program began as six weeks of care and education for young children to level the playing field for first grade entry. Through the determination and hard work of individuals in all parts of our country and a variety of support and talent, it now makes a difference every day for children and families, even in challenging times as we face now. Coincidentally, Early Head Start has its 25th birthday this year.

To all those involved in the work of the now birth to five Head Start program, thank you for your efforts and the energy that you have devoted to this work. For those enrolled, welcome to a program that is designer for your success, your involvement and your partnership of guiding your child and family to a positive and productive educational career. Happy Birthday Head Start!

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.


Assessing Program Strengths

The New Year is a great time to assess your programs strengths and areas where there are opportunities for improvement. While it is a new calendar year, your Teaching staff, Policy Council, Governing Board, Family Service Workers, Management Staff and Support staff are halfway through the program year. This is the perfect time to take stock and “fine tune”.

If you have identified a need to strengthen family partnerships, assist teaching staff with challenging behaviors, create more effective transitions, increase Classroom Organization or Instructional Support scores or strengthen your staff’s ability to interpret data to drive instruction, the second half of the program year is the perfect time for an in-service training. Implementing trainings to address identified areas for improvement as they are occurring is far more effective than waiting for the next year’s pre-service trainings.

Don’t wait, schedule your training while the year’s challenges are current and fresh in the minds of staff.

Our most popular in-service training topics for mid-year:

  • Successfully Managing Challenging Behaviors.
  • Becoming Trauma Informed – Successfully Managing Difficult Behaviors.
  • In the Door and on the Floor – Best Practices for Home Visiting.
  • How to Have Hard Conversations (with families or staff).
  • Working with Challenging Families.
  • The “Well Oiled Machine” – CLASS-based Classroom Organization Training.
  • Asking the Juicy Questions – CLASS-based Instructional Support Training.
  • Interpreting Data to Drive Instruction.

You can learn more about our full list of training topics and services at

Please call us at (704) 451-3255 or email us at to discuss your mid-year in-service training needs for 2020!.


Addressing Second-Hand Trauma in the Workplace

It takes courage and commitment to work with the most vulnerable children and families in our communities. With more and more Head Start and Early Head Start programs serving higher-risk families, it’s not surprising that staff are also experiencing an increase in second-hand trauma. 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. Working daily with children and families experiencing trauma profoundly affects our well-being as well as our ability to take care of ourselves and others.

This highly interactive and custom designed training will address:

  • Examine burnout, second-hand trauma, and compassion fatigue;
  • Describe how different individuals may experience stress and secondary trauma;
  • Provide an opportunity for self-assessment and personal reflection;
  • Use a multidimensional approach to prevention;
  • Explore evidence-based intervention strategies;
  • Identify signs of organizational stress and consider how to build a healthier workplace.

Becoming aware of the signs of second-hand trauma and having a toolbox of strategies to take care of yourself allows the staff take care of our at-risk children and families.

Looking for a training for your staff on “Addressing Second-Hand Trauma in the Workplace”?  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at

Interpreting Data to Drive Instruction: Data-Driven Decision Making for Teachers & Management Staff

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times…… data is the driving force of decision-making. Effective Head Start programs have a culture of data-driven decision making.  This is the process of making decisions based on the analysis of your programmatic information. As you consider multiple data sources (CLASS data, child assessment data, etc.) and analyze the results, you’re able to create changes that increase overall program quality and improve child outcomes.

Teachers play a critical role in the process through the use of ongoing assessment data to guide classroom instruction.  Observing and gathering assessment information for every child is the starting point for decision-making in the classroom. After observing, recording and reflecting, the data is used to drive instruction – and individualize for each child by creating learning goals.

This highly interactive and practice-based training:

  • Demonstrates the assessment-instruction cycle – focused observations, interpreting data, adapting and modifying instruction, and engaging families.
  • Shows Teachers how to be intentional with every step in the assessment-instructional cycle, increasing their interpretive skills in order to monitor and support children’s progress.
  • Provides Teachers with hands-on opportunities to make data-driven decisions for their classroom.

We also offer data training for Management staff that focuses on getting the most out of your program’s data… (1) strategies to interpret data, (2) how to effectively coach front-line staff as they collect and use data to drive instruction in the classrooms, and (3) how to tell the story of your program’s data.

Are you looking for highly interactive and custom designed training on “Interpreting Data to Drive Instruction: Data-Driven Decision Making for Teachers & Management Staff?” Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at

Becoming Trauma Informed: Successfully Managing Children’s Challenging Behaviors

Many of our children come from hard places and have experienced trauma. We know that early experiences adversely impacts brain development. Developmental trauma impacts children’s attachment system and their ability to self-regulate. This often results in children acting out through a multitude of challenging behaviors. Becoming trauma informed (learning strategies and language that increases safety while promoting optimal brain development) is a key piece of successfully addressing children’s challenging behaviors.

Head Start classrooms today contain more and more children with extreme behavior issues as well as children with diagnosed and undiagnosed special needs. Teachers often report that despite trying many different things to manage children’s challenging behaviors, nothing has been effective. We have found that the origin of many children’s challenging behaviors is rooted in developmental trauma.

Behaviorally challenging children are also relationship-resistant children. Instead of spending precious time trying to get challenging children under control, we can instead create a compassionate school culture. This strategy employs the natural power of connection between all members as a means of co-regulating behavior and teaching children to self-regulate.

Research shows that children who are connected to others in the early years of schooling are much more likely to develop socially, emotionally and academically. Children’s social and emotional functioning in the classroom is a primary indicator of school readiness.

We believe that successful behavior management training is based on shifting teachers’ daily practice from reward and punishment — to teaching, modeling and nurturing relationships within a positive school climate.

This highly interactive and custom designed training includes:

  • Understanding how developmental trauma impacts children’s attachment and their ability to self-regulate;
  • Defining teaching behaviors and interventions that improve children’s ability to pay attention and impulse control;
  • Learning to “meet children where they are” including specific strategies to reach challenging children in a way that builds trust and connection;
  • Exploring how these connections directly increase the ability to problem-solve, engaging students in interactions that facilitate effective learning;
  • Discovering how to connect with relationship-resistant children, reduce oppositional defiant behavior and increase cooperation and compliance.

Are you looking for highly interactive and practice-based Training on “Becoming Trauma Informed: Successfully Managing Children’s Challenging Behaviors”? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at

A Good Community Assessment is Essential

A comprehensive Community Assessment is one of the foundational elements of your Head Start program. It is used to make important decisions about your program regarding program design and service delivery. It is a critical document when writing your 5-year grant application, when writing a Recompetition grant application and when making decisions about selection criteria, enrollment slots, and types of services needed by children and families. It’s an essential document used for data-driven decision making and must include all needed data. Once you have a complete picture of the current conditions in your service area, you and your team can plan and make the right decisions for your Head Start program.

We create comprehensive Community Assessments that include all of the required items in the Head Start Program Performance Standards as well as any additional data that you request.

Our Community Assessments include:

  • Aggregating and analyzing a multitude of data sources;
  • Comparing current data with past years’ data;
  • Colorful graphs and charts illustrating the data;
  • Key findings for each piece of data;
  • Highlights & considerations for each major section;
  • Survey results of your Staff, Parents, Board of Directors and Community Partners.

Your Community Assessment will include an analysis of the data as well as an Executive Summary & much more. Our Community Assessments are user-friendly so that you can find needed information quickly. We include a combination of graphs and charts as well as descriptions of the data. With each graph or chart, we place a “Key Finding” under it that describes the data. After each major section, we include a “Highlights and Considerations” section that summarizes the key information.

Are you looking for a Full Community Assessment that will provide you with all of the data that you need to make critical programmatic decisions? We can take this off your to-do list and create it for you. Give us a call today at (704) 451-3255 or email us at

Energizing Keynotes: Building Consistency, Capacity & Commitment

Are you looking for an energizing keynote to kick off your Pre-service? It’s a great opportunity to bring your Head Start and Early Head Start staff together and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s a good time to set the tone for the new school year. . .to set the expectation of excellence in your program – excellence for the children, for the families and for the staff. Let’s share the message that the expectation is to go above and beyond for our children and families in order to create school-ready children and families that are fully engaged in their child’s education and on the road to self-sufficiency.

We provide inspiring keynotes that get your staff energized for the new school year. An engaging keynote is a great platform for a successful school year. The staff spend a lot of time giving to children & families and it’s important for the staff to get replenished. Our keynotes are designed to promote Consistency in the level of excellence across your program; to build your staff’s Capacity to provide the highest level of services to children and families; and to motivate your staff to renew their Commitment to guide children to school readiness and families to self-sufficiency.

Examples of our keynote topics include:

  • Reflect, Renew & Re-energize: Why We Work with Head Start Children & Families
  • Creating School-Ready Children & Self-Sufficient Families
  • Establishing an Expectation of Excellence
  • Building Strong Leaders to Serve Our Children & Families
  • Taking Care of Yourself in Order to Serve Children & Families

We can provide a keynote or make it a full-day training. The keynote or training will be custom designed to meet the specific needs of your program.

Are you looking for an Energizing Keynote or Training for Pre-Service? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at

Creating Your Program or Agency’s Community Assessment

Program planning is an important piece of a successful Head Start or Early Head Start program.  A current & comprehensive Community Assessment is one of the key documents to have for effective program planning. A comprehensive Community Assessment is also needed to write your Refunding Application, your Recompetition Grant Application and to maintain programmatic compliance. Your Community Assessment is a key document that drives decision-making in your program.

We create comprehensive & custom designed Community Assessments for Head Start programs, Early Head Start programs and agencies (including Community Action Agencies).  Our Community Assessments will meet the requirements of the Head Start Program Performance Standards (and of your CAP or other program regulations). Since all of our services are custom designed to meet the specific needs of your program or agency, we will include any additional data that you request.

Our Community Assessments include:

  • Aggregating and analyzing a multitude of data sources;
  • Comparing current data with past years’ data;
  • Colorful graphs and charts illustrating the data;
  • Key findings for each piece of data;
  • Highlights & considerations for each major section;
  • Survey results of your Parents, Staff, Board of Directors and Community Partners.

Our user-friendly Community Assessments include an Analysis of the data, Methodology, an Executive Summary & much more. Call or email us for a free sample!

Are you looking for a Community Assessment for your program or agency? Give us a call today at (704) 451-3255 or email us at