Professional Development

Jacky Howell and the consultants from Azspire can come to you virtually or on-site.


“Margie Carter and Ann Pelo ask three questions in the opening of their book, From Teaching to Thinking: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work:

“What kind of people do we want to be?

What kind of world do we want to live in?

What is the purpose of education and how do we go about achieving it?”

These questions and the spirit of inquiry is an important basis of the workshop sessions, keynotes, ongoing studies, and webinars that Jacky Howell and the consultants of Azspire work with programs to answer. We believe in offering interactive sessions, building learning communities, and creating opportunities for teachers, administrators and families to discuss and share their thinking as we grow together. We currently offer our work virtually yet will be offering on-site options as our current situation with the pandemic changes.


Please check out the webinars Jacky Howell has presented through Early Childhood Investigations that can also be brought to your program with specific information geared to your needs.


Jacky Howell and Azspire’s consultants offer a wide variety of professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators and families.  These are a few we have offered previously, yet we can also design a single session or more based on your individual needs.  Contact us with your questions. 

Please note: we currently offer sessions virtually AND we can offer sessions in both English and Spanish.

“Jacky Howell has been doing workshops for both staff and families at our Center for many, many years. Jacky can talk about anything – diversity, observations, working with families, and much more! She is incredibly knowledgeable, has an immense amount of experience, and is able to connect with everyone. I would highly recommend her for any needs that your center might have.”

Ilene Lewis, Director

Little Scholars Child Development Center

  • Navigating Our Work with Joy, Kindness and Purpose: Uplifting Ourselves, Uplifting Others
  • What Keeps You Inspired? Let’s Talk Together!
  • Looking at the Goals of the Anti-Bias Curriculum: Creating a Kind, Caring, Compassionate Classroom that Respects Diversity
  • Creating Community that Reflects Joy and Kindness
  • Together We’re Better: Activities that Build Caring Connections Between Children  
  • Kind, Empathetic Classrooms that Build Bridges and Create Community in a Diverse World
  • Come on In! How Directors and Teachers Can Use Rituals and Traditions to Create Community! 
  • Community as Learning in the Infant/Toddler Program: Sharing Strategies  
  • Community as Learning in the Preschool Program: Sharing Strategies    
  • Understanding the Culture of Early Childhood: Growing and Improving the Quality of Our Work with Children—–
  • Partnering With Change: Keeping Afloat When Change Happens in Our Programs 
  • The Spirit Whisperer: Looking at our Relationships with Young Children
  • The Seven Essential Life Skills for Children: Looking at Ellen Galinsky’s book, Mind in the Making  
  • Mirrors, Windows, & Magnifying Glasses: Reflections on Our Relationships with Children
  • Starting Your Year Off Right: Building Classroom Community  
  • Talking with Young Children: For Learning and for Love
  • Learning from the Book, “The Importance of Being Little—”What Preschoolers Really Need from Adults”
  • Reflective Guidance: Creating Prosocial Experiences that Foster Social-Emotional Skills and Build Resilience
  • Ten Resources for Resilience for Children and For Ourselves
  • A First Look at Reflective Discipline
  • Reflecting on Positive Discipline: Moving Beyond Time Outs to Learning Social-Emotional Skills   
  • Why Do They Do the Things They Do?”—Understanding Young Children’s Behavior
  • What Makes You Think So?”  Creating Conversations with Children
  • Helping Children Handle Their Feelings by Managing Our Own
  • Use Your Words: Reflecting on Communication
  • Using Six Core Strengths that Contribute to Children’s Social-Emotional Development
  • How We Can Stay Positive and Encourage Positivity in Children—Using the Energy Bus
  • Children That Challenge Us: Ideas to Consider   
  • Promoting Kindness and Empathy: Skills That Benefit All of Us
  • Considering Reflective Discipline: Ideas that Work for ALL Children  
  • Working with Boys in Early Childhood Classrooms
  • How Teacher Talk Helps Children Learn: Talking with Infants/Toddlers
  • Helping Children and Staff Cope with Trauma: Concerns and Questions
  • Looking at the Importance of Being Little—What Preschoolers Really Need from Adults

Note: Many of these sessions can be developed into three part mini-courses.  Contact us for further information! 

  • Environments of Wonder, Curriculum Experiences That Inspire
  • Beyond Bert and Ernie: Puppets as Partners in the Classroom
  • Using Books for Social-Emotional Development: Literature that Helps Children Explore Feelings
  • Creating Interactive Circle Times
  • In Their Own Way: Understanding Multiple Intelligences
  • Creating a High Quality Early Childhood Program: What Are the Elements?
  • What’s Going to Happen Next?  Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Curriculum
  • Out of the Housekeeping Corner and Onto the Stage: Dramatic Play for Young Children
  • Choosing and Caring for a Classroom Pet
  • Beyond Twinkle Twinkle: Singing Joyfully with Children
  • Understanding Different Assessment Systems: ITERS, CLASS and more! 
  • Math and Science the Preschool Way!  
  • Nature and the Great Outdoors 
  • Infants, Toddlers and Twos: We Are Unique Learners!
  • Intentional Teaching Through Meaningful Conversations
  • How to Create Experiences WITH Young Children Rather Than Planning Activities FOR Them
  • What is a Learning Story and How Can They Be Used?
  • Responsive Observing: How to Understand and Connect to Children’s Play without Interfering 
  • Facilitating Meaningful Online Experiences With Young Children: Unexpected Challenges and Joyful Opportunities in Action
  • Wonder-Filled Early Childhood Environments: Engaging All Children in Learning
  • It’s Summer!  How to Plan Experiences that are Fun,
  • Strategies for Passionate Teaching:—Moving from Ho Hum to Excellence
  • Teaching with Intentionality: Looking at Creating Meaningful Appropriate Curriculum Together
  • Positive Teacher Talk: How Teacher Talk Helps Children Learn
  • Inspired Teaching: Starting the Year with Fresh Ideas
  • Creating Classroom Environments Designed for Childhoods  
  • It’s Still About Play: Keeping and Explaining Play as the Way Young Children Learn   From Observations to Lesson Plans: How Knowing and Understanding Children Helps Us Plan  
  • Starting Your Year Off Right: Beginning the New Year with Children at the Center 
  • Creating Lesson Plans that are Meaningful and Engaging for Children AND You!   
  • Creating and Extending Meaningful Projects with Young Children
  • Learning from the Book, “Really Seeing Children.”
  • Learning from the Book, “From Teaching to Thinking”
  • Learning from the Book, “Mind in the Making”
  • Looking Deeper at Diversity, Equity and Social Justice through the Lens of Anti-Bias Education: Discovering and Planning for Our Growing Edges
  • Moving Past Understanding the Goals of Anti-Bias Education: Creating Curriculum and Experiences Based on the Goals of Anti-Bias Education
  • Learning from the Love of Sports: Introducing Children to Women’s Basketball
  • Understanding the Goals of Anti-Bias Curriculum
  • What is the Anti-Bias Curriculum and Are We Using It?  Another Look at Anti-Bias Curriculum Through a Social Justice Lens
  • Building Equity in ECE Settings Through Perspective Taking and Empathy

Many other sessions with the focus on Equity, Diversity and Social Justice are available.  Talk to us for more information.

Jacky Howell and Azspire’s consultants can present session for families on a variety of topics. This includes the most requested topic of Reflective Discipline. These can be presented in English and/or Spanish. Here is a short selection. Please let us know if you have other requests.

  • What Does Social-Emotional Learning Look Like from Birth to Five: How Can We Support Our Children
  • Parents as Partners in Early Childhood Classrooms
  • Learning Through Play: What Does that Mean?  What Does It Look Like?
  • What is “Kindergarten Readiness”?
  • Talking with Children About Diversity
  • Getting Your Child to Sleep

Note:  A variety of Reflective Discipline topics available FOR families upon request

  • Ten Coaching Ideas for Building Teams and Community
  • Communication as Key-Growing in Our Skills
  • Do You Dare to Lead?—Ideas from Brene Brown’s Work on Leadership
  • Lifesavers for Leaders: Tips for Growing as a Manager and Still Remain Sane!
  • Growing as a Leader: Lessons Learned from the book, Powerful Interactions
  • Growing our Staff into Strong Teams through Communicating, Supervising, and Coaching  
  • Using Jon Gordon’s Energy Bus In Teambuilding
  • Leading from the Heart
  • Taking Steps Forward as a Professional: Focus on Communication
  • Many Generations Working Together as a Team
  • Building Community through Strong Teamwork and Communication
  • Am I Supervising or Should I be Coaching?
  • Emergency Preparedness for Your Program: Are You Ready?
  • Improving Safety and Supervision: 6 Strategies to Develop a Plan 
  • Controlling the Spread of Illness in Child Care Settings (3 part, in-depth)
  • Everyday First Aid
  • Preventing Illness Outbreaks
  • Managing Asthma in Child Care Settings
  • Managing Food Allergies in Child Care Settings
  • Mitigating Caregiver Job Hazards: Working Together
  • Understanding Mindfulness and How to Use the Practice in Your Classroom
  • Understanding What It Means to be a Mandated Reporter
  • Another Look at Understanding Child Abuse 


Many of the workshops Azspire presents can be offered in 2, 3, or 4 part series. These can be done in a Learning Community format with smaller study groups. Here are a few of the topics. Let us know if you have other requests.

  • Understand the Goals of Anti-Bias Curriculum
  • Responsive Observing: What is It, How Do We Do It?
  • Learning Stories: How to Write and Use Learning Stories in Your Program
  • Director Series on Management vs Coaching vs Supervising and more!
  • Reflective Discipline Series
  • 6 Classroom Ideas/Tools to Build a Caring Community
  • Understanding Assessment Systems
  • Emergency Preparedness


Jacky Howell presents keynote sessions filled with ideas, humor, and inspiration.  Her audience often participates with her in song and discussion.  She provides participants with not only resources to take back to their programs, but an uplift to the profession and joy in the work.  Here are a few of the topics she can present.  Others available upon request.

“Jacky Howell inspires and makes the learning experience fun! Singing and play are an integral part of her trainings. Her insight and experience creates an atmosphere of critical thinking and problem solving and more importantly, attendees leave with concrete ideas to implement in their programs.” 

-Sally D’Italia, Director of Arnold & Porter Children’s Center, Co-President of Director’s Exchange, Washington DC


  • Partners on the Path of Childhood
  • Being a Reflective and Intentional Teacher: Sharing Ideas and Strategies
  • Looking at the “Importance of Being Little” from a Teacher’s Perspective
  • We Can’t Care for Children Unless we First Care for Ourselves
  • The Heart of Our Work: Stories of Our Children
  • Living Our Work with Joy, Inspiration and Kindness

Additional Topics by Request

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