GNJK Extended Learning Virtual Workshops

The Early Childhood Leadership Institute (ECLI) provides ongoing professional development to professionals within New Jersey’s Quality Rating and Improvement System and Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. Professional development opportunities include orientation, biannual trainings, community of practices, forums, and small group coaching. The GNJK Extended Learning Virtual Workshops are a way to engage in conversations with experts of specific topics, whose extensive experience provides a broader lens through which professionals can think about the work they do each day.  These workshops support practice in providing an opportunity for professionals to learn from one another, interact with others who are experts in the field, gain perspectives outside of their own context, and continue to build capacity on topics they identified through survey feedback.

The GNJK Extended Learning Virtual Workshop series is comprised of independent workshops throughout the year in which professionals can choose workshops that are most interesting to them based upon workshop descriptions. Each two-hour virtual workshop will be structured as a guided discussion, allowing the participants to engage in thoughtful conversation with the presenter and to process concepts with each other. ECLI gathers questions each participant submits during registration that is related to the topic and provides these to the presenters who can use them for creating content that is meaningful and tailored to the audience. Workshops are facilitated through the online platform ECLI uses for all their virtual professional development and are audio and video recorded to have as a resource for all professionals.

In keeping true to adult learning principles, registration is voluntary, allowing professionals to choose topics that are most relevant to their current needs and interests. Due to the conversational nature of the workshops, each workshop is limited to 30 participants. Due to this, professionals are encouraged to register early and only register for a workshop that they can commit to by attending on the identified date and time and by participating in fully (utilizing both video and audio). Upon registration, participants will submit at least one question for the presenter. Registration is by invitation only and all invitees will receive an email with registration and complete event details prior to each workshop. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Understanding and Supporting Communication Disorders in Young Children

In this workshop, participants will:

• Understand the role of the Speech-Language Pathologist when assisting young children with communication disorders. 

• Discuss communication domains, typical development, and the importance of early childhood professionals understanding communication disorders. 

• Review strategies and implementation ideas to help staff, children, and their families with difficulties in communication. 

• Become empowered with ideas to assist with referrals, resources, and collaboration with local resources supporting young children and their families with communication disorders.

Presenter: Michael Humphries 


Monday, July 25, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Every Child Can Fly: Including Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Education

As an early childhood professional with a disability, a child of a parent with a disability, and the mother of a son with a disability, Jani Kozlowski, author of Every Child Can Fly: An Early Childhood Educator’s Guide to Inclusion brings a unique perspective to the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood settings. In this session, Jani will share personal stories, current research and evidence-based practices that foster inclusive learning environments and meaningful family engagement. Join us to think about ways that educators and other professionals can build secure relationships and trust with children and families through a culture of belonging, caring and kindness. The past two years have been challenging for all of us, so let’s find out how to promote inclusion as an intervention that is healing for each and every child, family, and educator. This virtual workshop will provide TA specialists, family engagement specialists, coaches, trainers and other early childhood professionals with strategies to:

• Apply lessons learned from research on inclusion, access and equity to promote high-quality inclusion in early childhood environments.

• Build skills and confidence for meeting the needs of each and every child.

• Develop secure relationships with children and families that can reduce stress and build trust.

Presenter: Jani Kozlowski, MA


Wednesday, May 18, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Culturally Responsive Anti-Bias Education

Culturally responsive Anti-Bias (CRAB) education is an educational approach that focuses on classroom environments that reflect the children’s culture and promote positive racial and ethnic identity. CRAB addresses culture, diversity, fairness, and social action. This approach teaches children that diversity is a part of life and helps children build skills in forming and maintaining strong, positive, respectful cross-cultural relationships.

Presenter: Ebonyse Mead, Ph.D.


Thursday, March 31, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Impactful Community & Family Engagement Initiatives to Dismantle Systemic Racism

The critical role of families and communities must be valued if we are to achieve positive outcomes for each and every child. But many, and particularly families and communities of color, are too often undervalued or ignored. From leveraging expertise to learning from lived experience to celebrating Black Genius, this session will explore how early childhood practitioners can better engage this vital constituency to serve young children.

Presenter: Dr. Govan-Hunt


Thursday, January 27, 2022 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Supporting the ECE Workforce Using Technology-Based Methods

This workshop will discuss strategies for supporting the early childhood workforce during the pandemic when new challenges regarding maintaining quality improvement have emerged. With a primary focus on childcare professionals, I will share technology-based methods for supporting quality improvement and providing technical assistance virtually and we will discuss implications of these tools related to working with families as well.

Presenter: Dr. Jade Burris


Wednesday, December 1, 2021 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Dedication Is Not ‘Dead’ication

All of us in this past couple of years are living and learning to function in changed societal circumstances, some more complicated than others. As professionals in early childhood, we can either reel from this changing landscape and ignore the impacts on early childhood programs, young children and their families or continue to seek out information, resources and activities that support these programs as they continue to recovery to ambiguous times. As a specialist working within these environments, this often times that starts with you! It is the purpose of this presentation to reflect upon oneself and discuss strategies to give today’s early childhood workforce the support it needs to face these challenging times professionally as well as personally.

Presenter: Dr. Jane Humphries


Tuesday, June 22, 2021 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Using the Principles of Andragogy for Engaging and Supporting Programs

This session will provide an overview of andragogy—the science of adult learning—and discuss why it matters to adult educators in early childhood programs. We will explore the role of the facilitator in professional development programs, based on the principles of andragogy, and the expected outcomes for learners in an andragogy-based setting. We will also address the barriers to adult learning and strategies for helping learners overcome these barriers. Finally, we will delve into the application of andragogy in professional development with examples from the Grow NJ Kids (GNJK) Standards.

Presenter: Peter J. Pizzolongo


Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: A Blueprint for Operationalizing a Capacity-Building Coaching Interaction Style in Early Childcare

Coaching to build the capacity of the early childhood workforce can be easier said than done. This webinar builds on participants’ existing knowledge about a coaching interaction style and focuses on strategies for gathering and analyzing information to determine gaps in practice, prioritizing the gaps, and developing a plan for employing coaching characteristics (joint planning, action/practice, observation, reflection, and feedback) to build the learner’s capacity to address a priority. Participants will be introduced to new tools and materials to help operationalize evidence-based coaching characteristics including a Blueprint for applying coaching characteristics to all your capacity-building interactions.

Presenter: Sarah Sexton, Ed.D.


Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST

Title: Moving the Conversation Beyond Implicit Biases to Achieve Racial Equity

This racial-equity centered session will help early childhood professionals understand the root causes of implicit biases and the role implicit bias plays in perpetuating racial inequities in early learning environments. This session is designed to help technical assistance providers who support early childhood programs reflect, examine, and challenge their own implicit biases.

Presenter: Ebonyse Mead, Ed.D., CFLE


Thursday, July 16, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Cultivating Lasting Change starts with the Change Agent – Know Thyself

As Technical Assistants, we oftentimes look at resources or strategies through the lens of how we can help others utilize them to improve their practice and build upon the strengths they already have. In thinking about parallel process, we can apply this idea to our own learning experiences and how self-reflection and intentionally choosing strategies can help us to ensure we are actively working to improve our own effective practices and build capacity in providing technical assistance to create meaningful learning experiences for teachers/staff. This workshop will explore how being an agent of change requires, intentionality, vulnerability and a commitment to digging deep- not only for the teachers, directors and providers we support- but first and foremost for ourselves, with a reflective pre-workshop exercise and engaging activities for self-reflection and next steps.

Presenter: Constant Hine, M.A.


Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Title: Trauma Responsive and Healing Centered Engagement: Paths Toward Resilience and Healing

Times of uncertainty and crisis impact not only individuals and families, but the communities in which we all live. How do we as leaders support ourselves, while at the same time, support programs as they face new challenges associated with crisis? This workshop will explore how common responses can be viewed through a trauma lens and how healing-centered engagement can guide practical approaches toward enhancing resilience and recovery through compassion, not just for others, but also for ourselves, in a way that enhances our sense of community, resilience and promotes healing. 

Presenter: Amanda Rich, Ph.D.


Thursday, April 9, 2020 from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Title: An Introduction to Mindfulness: Leading Change with Presence, Reflection and Pause

We hear the term mindfulness used more and more frequently in the field, but what does it really mean? How can we recognize it and reap its benefits? This workshop will explore how mindfulness can be integrated into everyday life and practice, along with an example of how one state is using it as a basis for providing presence-based coaching.

*If you register for this workshop, the presenter asks that you have a piece of candy or other small favorite treat with you during the workshop to use for any activity.

Presenter: Marnie Aylesworth, D. Ed.