Consultation & Professional Development for Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Best practices in professional development and
best practices for children.

Judy Harris Helm, Ed.D., President

Incorporating best practices in professional development

Research based knowledge and strategies

Assistance with needs assessment and goal setting

Professional development not just inservice training

Support for administrators facilitating change

Contact time for reflection and collaboration

Strong connection to child achievement






News from Best Practices

NAEYC in Los AngelesWe had a wonderful Project Night with 22 projects exhibited by teachers from 3 different countries. Our focus this year was on Projects that Connect Children with Nature. Soon the Catalog of Projects for this night will be available for free download. It includes articles by Judy Harris Helm, Lilian Katz, and Yvonne Kogan plus a report on project approach training in Iowa. Watch for it! If you are interested in participating in future Project Sharing Nights, email Judy for more information

Dr. Helm's new book, Becoming Young Thinkers: Deep Project Work in the Classroom connects Mind Brain Education Science research with project work and shows strategies for deepening project work to build mind/brain capacity and intellectual development.  Click here for information about the new book!

The 3rd edition of Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years was released in 2016.  This expanded edition provides an introduction to the project approach with step-by-step guidance for conducting meaningful investigations with young children. This popular best seller includes two new chapters How Projects Can Connect Children with Nature and Project Investigations as STEM Experiences. - and to provide more help to teachers of the youngest children (toddlers) and older children (2nd grade). The Project Planning Journal at the back of the book has also been revised and updated.


REGISTRATION FOR THE BECOMING YOUNG THINKERS INSTITUTE  for 2017.  June 13, 14, 15, is now CLOSED. . REGISTRATION IS AT CAPACITY. The Becoming Young Thinkers Institute for Teachers with Dr. Judy Harris Helm, Pam Scranton, Director of UPC Discovery Preschool; and Rebecca Wilson, Dual Language Teacher is an annual event.  Two overlapping sessions bring beginners together with advanced teachers. This year a new special opportunity for becoming a trainer of project work was added to the institute. THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO FULL AND APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED. If you would like to be notified about the 2018 training opportunities email us and be placed on the list. Registration will open in January.   



Want to Learn About Engaged Learning and the Project Approach?

Books and Resources on the Project Approach are available here.

ecoming Young Thinkers Summer Institute is available here.

For training on site, contact us directly. .

About the Company

Best Practices is a consulting and training company working for early childhood and elementary schools begun in 1997 by Dr. Judy Harris Helm. Best Practices Inc. is a certified WBE (Women's Business Enterprise).

Services include school and program design, onsite observations; guided self-assessment of active, engaged learning; and training in specific practices such integrating standards, the project approach, documentation and authentic assessment.  Dr. Helm incorporates research from neuroscience into her speeches and training. Workshops, keynote speeches and awareness presentations are available. Best Practices Inc. has certification as a Women's Business Enterprise (WBE).Click here to go directly to workshops and keynotes.

Click here to go directly to resources and materials selected by Judy Harris Helm

Have you read these publications
by Judy Harris Helm?

Magazine and Journal Articles 

Building a 21st Century Teaching and Learning Habitat, in Educational Leadership, April, 2010 issue.Click here for abstract and to purchase

Como aprofundar o trabalho com projetos. Pátio – Educação Infantil, n. 22, p. 5-8, 2010. (Deepening Project Work: Getting Beyond Phases and How Many?, Brazil early childhood education professional magazine)

Breaking new ground: The evolution of the community school concept in one city. Helm, J., and Clark, D. In M. Cornish (Ed.), Promising practices for partnering with families in the early years: Family, school, community partnership, Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 2008.

Got Standards? Don't Give Up on Engaged Learning in the June issue of Young Children the journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  July 2008, pages 14-20.

Best Brains in Science Under Five: Helping Children Develop Intentionality in the January February issue of  Exchange Magazine pages 50 - 52.

Energize Your Professional Development by Connecting with a Purpose:  Building Communities of Practice  in the June issue of Young Children the journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.  pages 12 - 16. Read an excerpt from the article here.


Free Documentation Display Templates Online



Free templates for Microsoft Publisher to be used to create displays that show how real authentic learning is occuringin your classrooms are available by clicking here. Directions for using the templates are located in Building Support for Your School. Click here to order Building Support for Your School: How to Use Children's Work to Show Learning.

What are you looking for?

Click a topic to find workshops,keynotes or training on these topics

Understanding and Applying Brain Research and What We Know About Brain Development

Integrated Teaching and Incorporating Standards

The Project Approach

Documenting Children's Learning

About Judy Harris Helm

Judy Harris Helm, Ed.D., began her career teaching first grade 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 ten 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. Dr. Helm completed her graduate studies for both her M.A.T and Ed.D. at West Virginia University, College of Human Resources and Education .

Teachers College Press, Columbia University, publishes her writing. She is co-author of Windows on Learning: Documenting Young 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 companion training materials, Teaching Parents to Do Projects at Home: A Tool Kit for Parent Educators. Dr. 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.

Dr. Helm is past state President of the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children. Awards received include 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. 
Best Practices Recommended
Books and Resources

CLICK HERE to go straight to

Books and videos by Judy Harris Helm

Brain development and early childhood education
The Project Approach

Documenting children's learning

The preschools of Reggio Emilia

The general topic of early childhood education 

Resources on standards in early childhood

Click a topic below to see resources, books, videos and websites
recommended by Best Practices

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