You’ve Reopened – Now What?

head start reopeningMany of our Head Start programs have reopened, with more planning to open soon.  The rules of the game have changed and very few have the playbook.   The concerns in the classroom are real:

  • With no hugs or high fives, and smiles hidden behind masks, how can we provide a learning environment that encourages emotional connections?
  • With all of the restrictions on distance and groupings, how can we remain flexible and student-focused?
  • Routines and transitions take so much more time now, how can we make the most of that time?
  • The tendency to say “no” or “stop” is real. Teachers are feeling that they are consistently redirecting children’s behaviors.  How can we frame this in a positive manner?
  • The staff is stressed; what can we do to support them?

All of Essential Elements’ trainings are now offered virtually. As Head Start professionals welcome children back to classrooms that look far different than anyone could have imagined just a year ago, we would like to help. In addition to the topics on our website, our trainers have been developing content that is relevant to the current issues Head Start professionals are experiencing as they reopen.

Below are our most requested topics from programs searching for ways to support staff as their programs reopen, as well as the issues families face while addressing the very real impact and consequences the pandemic and racial tension brought to our programs across the country.

  • Emotional Support to Foster Exploration and Learning during Covid-19
  • Remaining Student-Focused Despite the Increased Need for Structure
  • The Well-Oiled Machine – Classroom Organization
  • Managing Challenging Behaviors
  • Becoming Trauma Informed and Recognizing Secondary Trauma
  • Helping Children Feel Safe in Today’s Society-COVID 19 and Racism Becoming Trauma Informed – Responsive Caregiving
  • Linking the Classroom to Home
  • How to Have Hard Conversations with Families
  • Reflect, Renew & Reenergize: Why we Work with Head Start Families
  • Self-Care: Taking Care of Yourself in Order to Serve Children and Families

For more information, contact us.

Re-opening In The Midst Of New Challenges And Hurdles

As our Head Start programs begin to tackle the new school year, with ever changing guidelines for re-opening, we want to offer our support and assistance.

Many program management and staff, new and veteran, have very real concerns about the children and families they serve.

  • What have our children experienced during the shutdown?
  • How have our parents fared?
  • Can they work?
  • Have our kids experienced food insecurity?
  • Have they been safe?
  • What will we need to do and what might we be faced with as we re-open?
  • How can I support my staff as children return to us?

All of Essential Elements’ trainings are now offered virtually. As Head Start professionals prepare to welcome children and families to a new school year that is not like anything any of us have previously experienced, we would like to help. We are offering virtual trainings that address the tough topics, effects of COVID 19 and the current race inequities, discussions in our communities, secondary trauma, and virtual support of families.

We are conducting virtual trainings for pre-service on most of our training topics, however, we would like to offer you additional support. Our trainers have been developing content that is relevant to current issues Head Start professional and the families they serve are experiencing.

Below are our most requested topics from programs searching for effective ways to support staff and families while addressing the very real impact and consequences the pandemic and racial tension brought to our programs across the country.

  • Managing Your Stress: Self-Care Strategies for Difficult Times
  • Working with Challenging Families During a Pandemic
  • Becoming Trauma Informed and Recognizing Secondary Trauma
  • Managing Challenging Behaviors
  • Helping Children Feel Safe in Today’s Society-COVID 19 and Racism
  • How to Have Hard Conversations with Staff
  • How to Have Hard Conversations with Families
  • Becoming Trauma Informed – Responsive Caregiving
  • Moving from Helper to Partner
  • Linking the Classroom to Home

For more information, contact us by email or give us a call.

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.

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.

 

Why CLASS Observations In The Spring?

Spring is an ideal time to conduct CLASS observations. With more than half the school year over, education staff have had pre-service training, in-service training, and coaching from your Education Coordinators and specialists. Spring is the perfect time to evaluate not only where you are with CLASS scores, but what is working and what may not be, in terms of teacher/child interactions, as well as taking professional development to a deeper level.

CLASS observations in the spring, with direct feedback for opportunities for improvement, will identify areas where teaching staff need support and is an excellent way to identify your pre-service training needs.

Whether your staff are struggling with challenging behaviors, trauma informed care, maximizing available instructional time during transitions and routines, or asking the juicy questions for instructional support, this is the time to “take stock” and identify content area for staff training, before the new school year.

Our CLASS observations include a detailed summary for each classroom, program wide opportunities for improvement and growth, and a comprehensive debrief with management.

We currently have availability in March, April and May for CLASS observations and are reserving trainers and dates for the preservice season!

Making Accidental Learning Part of the Plan

Sadly, for many professionals in early childhood, we say “children learn through play,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find evidence that we believe it’s true. What I mean is, letting kids play all day long, how could we possibly meet all the HSPPS? There’re things to do, a curriculum to implement, big group-small groups, circle time, intentional teaching, assessments, snacks to serve, diapers to change, more diapers to change, and clean up, so much clean up. Sound familiar?

Are you interested in a training that focuses on developmentally appropriate practices for infants and toddlers? We dive deep into what it means to support learning through play authentically, create environments worthy of exploration, make learning visible through innovative documentation, and get real about what it means to be a grown-up.

Let’s find the freedom inside the HSPPS and put play at the center of everything we do with infants and toddlers.

Top Ten Requested Training Topics

There are measurable benefits of in-service training and consistent professional development opportunities throughout the year.  People take in new information a little at a time.  While pre-service is a good time to provide staff with training, it is just a few days of the year. Consider instead of presenting a lot of information at once, creating multiple training opportunities for staff.  Creating a multi-layered plan to provide training to staff throughout the year, will lay a foundation of learning that can be built upon – a little at a time.  This allows for effective learning.

Having a comprehensive training plan for your staff is essential, but it’s not everything.  The training must also be highly engaging so that learning occurs.  We recommend utilizing a “learning by doing” training methodology.  Make your training highly interactive so that the participants experience the information that is being presented.  This results in high impact learning, in which the training participants take back the information that they learned and implement it immediately.

Our top ten most popular in-service training topics:

  • Creating High Quality Classrooms with a CLASS-based approach.
  • Implementing Science in the Classroom.
  • 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).
  • Developing Significant and Supportive Relationships – CLASS-based Emotional Support Training.
  • The “Well Oiled Machine” – CLASS-based Classroom Organization Training
  • Promoting High Level Thinking – CLASS-based Instructional Support Training.
  • Building Effective Family Partnerships Using a Strength-based Case Management Approach
  • Early Learning Outcomes Framework – How to Naturally Integrate ELOF with Curriculum and Classroom Practices.

You can learn more about our full list of training topics and services at www.HSessentials.com.

Please call us at (704) 451-3255 or email us at KristineCortina@hsessentials.com to discuss your mid-year in-service training needs for the 2019-2020 school year.

Training on “Creating High Quality Classrooms”

This highly interactive training will address how to provide high quality, school readiness-focused services for Head Start children. Designing and implementing a high quality classroom requires thoughtful intention and a strong knowledge base. Of all of the “essential elements” of high quality classrooms, we find that the ones that many Head Start classrooms find challenging and need additional support include (1) Small Group Instruction; (2) Engaging Children in Conversation during Mealtimes; (3) Effective Transitions; and (4) Intentionality during Center Time.

This custom designed training will address the following topics:

  • Small Group Instruction
    Small group time can greatly benefit a child’s school readiness.  It is an opportunity for teachers to spend intentional, focused instructional time with students in specific skill areas.  We will address and model what effective small group instruction looks like in a Head Start classroom.  The key elements of small group instruction are creating groups based on need; direct instruction that is planned and based on observations and children’s data; and high levels of student engagement and interaction.  Small group time is also a critical time for teachers to assess where children are in their learning process.
  • Engaging Children in Conversation during Mealtimes
    Developing early language is essential to a child’s development as well as to school readiness. It allows children to successfully engage in socialization and learn from their natural environments.  We will focus on helping teachers develop a strong knowledge base on language development in young children. The training will empower the teaching staff in their role in supporting each child’s language development. Meals are an excellent opportunity to engage children in conversation.  We will share specific strategies to show how to effectively promote language during mealtime. Open-ended questions, repetition as well as extension and self- and parallel talk will be a part of the demonstration.
  • Effective Transitions
    Children benefit greatly from knowing what to expect throughout their day and the classroom setting demands that children move through many transitions each day. Reducing the number of transitions as well as keeping the children informed of the upcoming change helps them feel safe and in control. And, when children feel safe, they learn better and are more able to control their actions and behavior. We will leave the teachers with a transition toolkit and a variety of activities to use with children throughout the day.
  • Intentionality during Center Time
    Effective learning is achieved when children are fully engaged. This occurs when children are actively involved and energized during center time. The centers should capture children’s inquiry, promote creativity and encourage problem-solving skills. Equally important is the intention on the part of the teacher. Intentional teaching is always thinking about what you are doing and how it will foster children’s development. We will model how to interact with children during center time with children’s outcomes in mind and seek out every opportunity to help children progress on their road to school readiness.

Looking for a training for your staff on “Creating High Quality Classrooms”?  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

Keynote or Training: “Reflect, Renew and Re-energize … Why We Work with Head Start Children and Families

Are you looking for a keynote or training to motivate and inspire your staff regarding the important work that they do for children and families?

This highly inspiring training will focus on helping the staff remember the incredible program that Head Start and Early Head Start is… and why they have chosen to work in this exciting field.  This highly engaging training will renew our understanding of what a high quality Head Start program is as well as reclaiming the passion and joy for the important work that the staff do every day!

This highly motivating keynote or training will address:

  • Reflect back on why we got into this field.
    We will take time to help the staff remember why they work in Head Start.  The training will help them get back in touch with the joy that they experience from working with at-risk children and families.  We will reconnect your staff with the feeling that they get when a child learns something because of their efforts, when a family reaches a goal… to assist staff in getting in touch with the impact that they have in serving the children and families.  No matter what position the staff has, they are an essential piece of the puzzle to achieve school readiness and family engagement.
  • Renew our understanding of the new requirements in Head Start.
    It’s true – the expectations for Head Start staff are different than they used to be.  Because of CLASS, data-driven decision making and Recompetition, the focus for staff has changed as well as the pressure that this brings.  Staff have to collect more data and fill out more paperwork.  The reality, however, is that there are new requirements in Head Start and it’s important to accept them.
  • Re-energize the staff to accept the changes in Head Start and reclaim their passion for delivering high quality services to children and families.
    This training will let the staff know that we acknowledge that they have different responsibilities than they did in the past.  We’ll address that, because the face of Head Start has changed, there are new expectations for staff.  While these changes are numerous and challenging, they are here to stay and it’s important that we accept and embrace them.  The training will help the staff reclaim the passion they have for their job in Head Start – to remind them of why they work in Head Start and why their daily efforts are so important in the lives of young children and families.

Looking for a keynote or training for your staff on “Reflect, Renew and Re-energize: Why We Work with Head Start Children and Families?”  Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.

CLASS Training to Increase Your Instructional Support Scores

As we all know, it’s essential to have high CLASS scores. High scoring classrooms are a great indicator of positive teacher/child interactions that effectively support children’s learning and development. This leads to successful CLASS Reviews as well as best practices in the classroom. Most Head Start programs score lowest in the Instructional Support domain. This is understandable as some of the indicators within Concept Development, Quality of Feedback and Language Modeling are complex.

This hands-on training will discuss and demonstrate specific strategies for each of the indicators and behavioral markers under each of the dimensions within Instructional Support.Utilizing the teachers’ daily schedule, we will provide concrete strategies on how to attain high CLASS scores in Instructional Support. This targeted training will focus on ways to implement Instructional Support throughout the day. We will demonstrate how to naturally incorporate high scoring Instructional Support during large group activities, small group activities, center time, transitions and routines, meals… every part of the Head Start day!

This custom designed training will include items such as:

  • Analysis and Reasoning: Learn how to integrate the “how” and “why” of children’s learning.
  • Integration: Learn how to effectively make meaningful connections from new to prior learning.
  • Scaffolding: Learn how to provide assistance, feedback and questioning to assist children in continuing to learn and work at a higher level.
  • Feedback Loops: Learn how to increase language through sustained conversations, comments and follow-up questions in supporting a higher level of insight and comprehension.
  • Repetition & Extension: Learn how to acknowledge and build on each child’s unique ideas and contributions to a lesson or conversation.
  • Self- & Parallel Talk: Learn how to best map both your actions & the children’s actions as a means for language modeling.

The entirety of the training will be framed in terms of the Head Start classroom – including what a “7” looks like for each of the indicators and behavioral markers under Instructional Support. We will offer practice-based strategies to increase CLASS scores in each of these indicators and behavioral markers. We will address best practices as it pertains to teaching behaviors and interactions.

If your program’s scores are lowest in Emotional Support or Classroom Organization, we can focus on that domain instead.

A variety of learning styles will be explored such as videos, role plays, small group activities, pair and share, question and answer sessions, and other interactive exercises. The participants in this training will have many hands-on opportunities to see what high-scoring Instructional Support looks like – as adult learning is best when the participants can see, feel and experience the information that is being presented.

Are you looking for highly interactive and custom designed “CLASS Training to Increase Your Instructional Support Scores”? Give us a call at (704) 451-3255 or email us at kristinecortina@hsessentials.com.