Workshops, Presentations, and Keynotes

Each of these has been presented at conferences, seminars, or clients’ sites.  Each has been tailored to the needs of the client.  We tailor workshops to fit your needs.  If you get a few ideas and are interested in combining more than one, it usually can happen, depending on the length of the presentation/workshop/seminar.

In a three day seminar series, we include several different areas.  We have woven in several of these workshops over two and three day seminar sessions.  We usually exceed expectations.  When you see ongoing positive change, you will be another happy client!

Hilltop’s primary consultant and keynote, Ellen Jaffe Cogan, is the author of the forthcoming book, “THE PLANNING SOLUTION: Meet Standards AND Preserve Play”  Workshops based on the book are available now.  The most popular of these is:   Planning Intentional, Standards-Based Learning Experiences in a Play Based Preschool This is a hands-on intensive how-to workshop for people who need to bridge the gap between understanding developmentally appropriate practice and actually making it happen in the real world.  It has been offered as a one-hour introductory presentation at conferences, as a half-day workshop at the NAEYC national conference in 2011, as a few hour insert in full day or multi-day curriculum workshops and is best as a full day or even 2 day stand-alone seminar.

Values   The Five Core Values – Honesty/Trustworthiness, Respect for self, Respect for others, Respect for the environment, Good Citizenship

 Making sure the values we want children to learn are taught through:

  • Living and modeling the 5 core values
  • Relationships – with children, staff, families, administration
  • Schedule
  • Activities
  • Curriculum
  • Materials
  • Room arrangement
  • Policies and procedures
  • Mission statement

For Administrators:  * = among the most frequently requested        ** = for educators and any other types of agencies and businesses

  • The new director
  • Being “too nice” may be harmful to your center *
  • More effective supervision *    **
  • Business aspects of running a non-profit agency *
  • Handling staff/staff conflicts **
  • Preparing for national accreditation – joint presentation to directors and staff to kick off project *
  • Marketing change  **
  • Creating and nurturing a climate of change *     **
  • Working with Boards and/or being part of a larger organization entity

Team Building and Overcoming Resistance to Change This is one of the most requested themes for both education and other types of agencies and businesses. Keynotes, presentations, and interactive workshops are available from one hour to a half day seminar.  Clients report visible progress from some staff members and/or families immediately!  Best results, of course, are within an ongoing relationship where resistant individuals can be coached and/or mentored over time.

In one setting, one of the most resistant head teachers not only made one change, but kept on going to lead her team to make several changes in many areas.  That team became leaders to others making changes.  What was most exciting was the sense of excitement in the air.  The children (learning disabled with IEPs (individual education plans), most ELLs (English language learners)) had fewer behavior problems, learned more, and had more fun each day.  It was win/win/win/win with children, team members, administration, visitors from regulatory and licensing agencies, and families happy.  It took 1 workshop, about 3 (less than an hour) coaching sessions plus ongoing administrative encouragement to bring this about.  What a small investment for so many positive changes!

Curriculum – Content Areas

Workshops and interactive seminars are offered on any and all curriculum areas.  These range from 1 ½ hours to several days.  Coaching, mentoring, and classroom team workshops help teaching staff connect content areas with overall learning goals and to see interconnections between curriculum and everyday living.

  • Language and Literacy
    • Integration of literacy throughout every area of the classroom *
    • Integration of literacy throughout every time period of the day *
    • Integration of literacy with other specific content areas, e.g. Literacy and art
    • Components of literacy
    • Invigorating story time
    • Language acquisition – speeding the time to learn new words by agreeing on common classroom terms
  • Math
    • Math is more than counting: other components of mathematic learning for preschoolers *
    • Piaget and math: keeping math expectations within children’s developmental abilities
    • Integration of math throughout every area of the classroom *
    • Integration of math throughout every time period of the day *
    • Integration of math with other specific content areas, e.g. – Math and dramatic play
    • If they can’t count forwards to 5, how will they learn to count backwards? – More appropriate choices of math activities
  • Making the Discovery Area work for children and for staff
  • Social studies, science, and weekly planning – or science and/or social studies are not learned by doing an ‘art’ project
  • Health and nutrition – implementing and improving family style, nutritious, culturally appropriate meals and snacks
  • Art – age and developmentally appropriate materials, media, environment – what NOT to say to children about their art *

Curriculum – Implementing an inquiry based curriculum

Note:  None of the curriculum seminars, workshops, etc.provided by Hilltop are affiliated with or endorsed by any of the publishers of any currently available curriculum systems.  Examples of constructivist curriculum titles and/or trademarks do not constitute any type of endorsement of or connection to either their products or of Hilltop’s services.

Based on constructivist curriculums such as Creative Curriculum, Bank St, High Scope, and others and combined with the Project Approach (Helm, Katz, Chard and others) as well as Studies (Teaching Strategies’ name for the project approach), teachers learn that children really do learn more effectively when:

  • They are part of the learning process
  • Curriculum evolves from their interests and abilities – it is not preplanned by people who never met the children
  • Children who are not interested in the central project are included in related activities or are engaged in another project
  • Every child in the group can participant in some way and on some level, with every child finding challenging learning experiences
  • Active learning includes movement and children’s spontaneous conversations
  • Ongoing observations and assessment are reflected in curriculum experiences offered
  • The entire learning day is viewed as part of the curriculum including routines
  • Families are involved and engaged in the learning process
  • Learning is documented for and by the children
  • Staff is involved and engaged in the learning
  • Relationships are deepened by meaningful conversations
  • Very few whole group activities take place
  • Cultural factors are included and appreciated
  • Children’s observational drawings are included
  • The process skills involved in learning are consciously taught – usually individually or in very small groups of children who need exactly those skills
  • Social competence skills are taught and encouraged daily
  • Required standards and regulatory requirements are met and/or exceeded
  • Learning is celebrated within the group and within the program as a whole

One, two, and three day seminars are available.  If the program is in the NYC metropolitan area, three day seminars are offered with the first two days consecutively and a two to three week space between days two and three.  During the space between workshop days, participants make a change of their choosing and share it with the group on day three.  Participants see that some of the changes seem minor, but result in positive changes on many levels.  After learning of others’ changes, they are more apt to continue the change process.  For one client, the three days were offered over several months’ time, on predetermined staff development days.  The changes were dramatic!

Implementation workshops often include learning how to create a weekly plan for a class that incorporates every bullet above.  (See Planning, above) We recommend alloting at least 1/2 day for this aspect. This was the topic for the 4 hour preconference session in November, 2011 at NAEYC’s Annual Conference in Orlando.  Thanks to all who came!  Hope to see you at the next one!

Room arrangement and classroom management * (since 2000, so many variations, excellent results!)

  • Challenging behaviors – prevention strategies
  • The triplets­: space, time, curriculum
  • Space and time for meals
  • Handling classroom routines and transitions
  • Techniques to reduce children’s waiting time
    • Routines of the day
    • Routines for occasional events
    • If the wait is imposed, making it more fun

Children’s challenging behaviors *

These workshops are typically included within other workshops, and content can include curriculum areas, room arrangement, quality, etc.

  • Prevention of problems using the triplets – space, time, and curriculum
  • Specific techniques to go with each classroom area and the outdoors
  • Transitions
  • Appropriate expectations for ages and stages of development
  • Integrating special needs children in a typical classroom
  • Teaching staff and the role of the administrator in dealing with challenging behaviors
  • The role of the family and community

Multi-age classrooms

  • Knowing all of the children
  • Creating activities of interest to the whole group
  • Balance of activities across ability levels
  • Age does not equal ability

School age children – workshops for after-school programs and for elementary schools

  • Reducing challenging behaviors
  • Meeting the needs of all children in the class including special needs, English language learners, etc.
  • Integration of meaningful, fun learning activities
  • Active learning
  • Ages and stages of child development as applied to elementary school aged children
  • Leadership
  • Health, safety and nutrition
  • Required training for NYS OCFS registration/licensing and renewals

Quality Improvement towards Accreditation or Re-Accreditation

Support for accreditation systems from NAEYC and for the NAC system is available on an ongoing basis, within your time/fiscal constraints.  Ongoing support requires at least one visit to the site and support of key participants, such as executive director, regional director, owner, board, or whoever makes the financial and time commitments to the project.  After the initial visit, consultation can be via phone as little as an hour every two weeks or as frequently as one day per week.  All consulting agreements are tailored to the needs of the client.

For NY State clients ONLY: “Scholarship funding to participate in this training may be available through the Educational Incentive Program (EIP).  For more information or to apply for a scholarship, please visit You may also contact EIP at or 800-295-9616″

The scholarship funding described above is provided by New York State funding only to training taking place in New York State.  While we do train in many other locations, please do not call us for EIP funding if you are not in NY.  Thank you.