Early Childhood Education Expert to Speak on the Power of Documentation



April 5, 2006 – An internationally and nationally recognized early childhood education expert will make presentations on the “Power of Documentation” April 21-22 at Southeast Missouri State University. The presentations will be made in celebration of the Month of the Young Child.

Dr. Judy Harris Helm, president of Best Practices, Inc., and a consultant for early childhood teachers and programs, will speak from 9 a.m. to noon and from 4 to 7 p.m. April 21. She will also conduct a seminar from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 22. The three events will all be held in Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall, where examples of documentation panels will be on display both days.

Documentation is an assessment method that focuses on collecting, analyzing and displaying children’s work. Analyzing children’s work in progress helps teachers improve their assessment skills and better plan meaningful activities for children. Children’s work can also be a powerful tool for communicating to parents what children are learning.

The early session on April 21, titled “Opening Windows: The Power of Documentation,” is designed for Southeast students, but is open to the public at no cost. The second session on April 21, titled “Documentation of Children’s Work for Lab Schools,” is only for lab school teachers. The College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services at Southeast are sponsoring the programs on April 21.

“Windows on Learning: The Power of Documentation” is the title of the seminar scheduled for April 22. This event is being sponsored by the Small Business Development Center, the Southeast Innovation Center, Child Care Resource & Referral, and the College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services at Southeast. Those participating will be eligible to earn .5 Continuing Education Units (CEU). Cost of the April 22 seminar is $15, which includes lunch. Registration deadline is April 14.

Helm is an early childhood education author, speaker and consultant. She began her career teaching first grade. She then taught 4-year-olds, directed, and designed early childhood programs, and taught in teacher training programs. She served on the Task Force for the design of the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center, eventually becoming professional development coordinator for the school. For 10 years, she has been assisting early childhood and elementary schools in integrating research and new methods through her consulting and training company, Best Practices, Inc.

Helm completed both her master’s and doctoral degrees in the College of Human Resources and Education at West Virginia University. Teachers College Press at Columbia University publishes her writing. She is co-author of Windows on Learning: Documenting Young Children’s Work and Teacher Materials for Documenting Children’s Work; co-author with Lilian Katz of Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years; co-editor of The Power of Projects: Meeting Contemporary Challenges in Early Childhood Classrooms, co-author of Teaching Your Child To Love Learning: A Guide to Projects at Home and the recently released Teaching Parents to Do Projects at Home: A Tool Kit for Parent Educators. Helm served as the primary design consultant for The Power of Documentation: Children’s Learning Revealed Exhibit at Chicago Children’s Museum, which was funded by the McCormick Tribune Foundation. Her work has been translated into five languages and she provides consultation and training throughout the country and internationally.

Helm is past state president of the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children. She has received the Outstanding Service to Young Children Award from the Chicago Association for the Education of Young Children and the Peoria Woman in Leadership in Arts and Education Award from the Peoria YWCA. Helm serves on the Illinois Director’s Commission for the state of Illinois and the Quality Enhancement Committee for the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies.

For more information, call Dr. Julie Ray at (573) 651-2444 or Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner at (573) 651-2734.