Early Learning

Motivational Interviewing (M.I.) recognizes that early learning professionals and the families they work with each have their own knowledge, experience and resources. By treating staff and families as “co-experts,” M.I. fosters a different kind of communication, based on listening, collaboration, and mutual respect and acceptance. When fully engaged in the process of change, not simply told what to do, families are much more likely to commit to healthy behaviors and make better life choices.


  • In M.I. we use affirmations—specialized statements recognizing strengths—not praise, which is our opinion of parents’ behavior and choices.
  • M.I. is not focused on “fixing” or “educating” people, but guiding them to find their own solutions.
  • M.I. can engage fathers and non-traditional families.
  • M.I. bridges cultural differences and is used in over 30 countries.

Jonnae Tillman offers comprehensive training in Motivational Interviewing to leadership, supervisors and staff in programs such as, Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant Head Start, ECEAP, Nurse-Family Partnership, WIC, and First Steps programs. Her training covers the use of M.I. as related to complicated topics, including:

  • Parent Engagement
  • Child development
  • Nutrition
  • Family planning
  • Breastfeeding
  • Vaccine hesitation
  • Oral health
  • Financial stability
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Mental health
  • Domestic violence
  • Substance abuse

Training Overview

Many people have seen presentations on Motivational Interviewing, or participated in a half- or one-day training. While a good introduction to the techniques and spirit of M.I., this level of training is only a start. Jonnae’s training not only gives professionals a thorough understanding of M.I. but also helps them learn how to use the skills in a meaningful, specific and measureable way.

  • Jonnae uses a variety of training formats, customized to each client’s needs and goals: discussion, lecture, video, written reflection, integration opportunities, practice sessions, small and large group learning.
  • Since preparatory reading and team discussion can occur in advance, Jonnae’s in-person training focuses on practice, not just theory.
  • 1, 2 or 3-day training sessions can be scheduled over a period of time, accommodating staff availability and allowing the learning to be absorbed and put into practice between sessions.
  • Follow-up mentoring in-person or by-phone.
  • Jonnae provides specific, measurable feedback on audio/video recordings of real interactions and/or live practices.

Additional Training for Leadership and Supervision:

  • Jonnae’s M.I. training helps agency leadership incorporate Motivational Interviewing into family engagement and school readiness strategies and policies.
  • Managers receive coaching on how to model M.I. in their interactions with staff, which in turn encourages staff to use M.I. in their communications with families.
  • Managers will learn how small adjustments in policies, protocols and paperwork can yield significant improvements in parent engagement.
  • Jonnae can provide training on effective meeting facilitation and strategic planning that complements the use of Motivational Interviewing at the delivery level.

Head Start  |  Early HS  |   ECEAP                   

  • Fort Worden Early Childhood Conference
  • Migrant Head Start/EHS
  • National Indian Head Start Directors Conference
  • Oregon Child Development Coalition
  • Eastern WA Univ EHS
  • Whidbey Island ECEAP
  • OlyCAP
  • Olympic ESD
  • Puget Sound ESD
  • Snohomish County HS/EHS and ECEAP

For more information, or to discuss what kind of training would best match your organization’s goals, please contact Jonnae at jonnae@jtillmantraining.org, or call (425) 359-1937.