Program improves social-emotional outcomes

Published 12:16 pm Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Community Learning Center (CLC) early childhood programs adopted a new program in 2012 that improves social-emotional outcomes for young children in school and at home.

The program is called TACSEI and is grant funded through the department of education and administered through the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children.

The model TACSEI used to deliver information is a pyramid model framework, seen here at One level of the pyramid is to build nurturing, responsive relationships among adults and children.

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Communication is important in building relationships. The staff at the CLC is consciously targeting their language to tell children what to do instead of what not to do and to clearly state expectations and model actions.

What exactly does this look like? Think about how you respond to your children when they do something you do not want them to do. Imagine your child is standing on the chair. What would you say and how would you say it? If you said, “Don’t stand on the chair,” you may have confused your child. Young children often do not understand words like “don’t,” therefore they heard you say a word they do not understand and thought you told them to stand on the chair. You may have said it in a harsh way resulting in a negative response and possible power struggle.

Instead tell your child what you want them to do. “Sit on the chair,” or “chairs are for sitting.” Be consistent using a positive tone of voice. Further reinforce the behavior you want by catching them when they do what you expect of them. “Wow, I like that you are sitting up big and tall;” “I like the way you are sitting in your chair with your feet on the floor.”

Children need to know what is expected of them. They can’t get enough encouragement and praise. By setting clear expectations you will avoid confusion and create more opportunity for seeing desired behaviors.

This has been eye opening work for us and the students have responded in a very positive way. We have seen a reduction in negative behaviors and an increase in positive relationships by reframing our communications, setting our environment with clear expectations and reinforcing positive behaviors.

Talking to your child in this way takes effort and practice, but it is worth it in the end as your relationship with your children will be more positive. For more information on TACSEI visit