Tahoe-Truckee’s Social Emotional Readiness Project — a look at year one | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee’s Social Emotional Readiness Project — a look at year one

Discovery Preschool students line up for a day of fun.
Courtesy Ruth Jackson Hall |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — TTUSD’s Social Emotional Readiness Project, a pilot program focused on healthy emotional development of children birth to five, is wrapping up a very successful first year.

Funded by First Five Nevada County, the project goal is to help children enter kindergarten with the solid emotional and behavioral foundation that research shows is crucial to their ability to learn and to their success in school.

To that end, the program provides education and professional development to primary adults in children’s lives — parents, caregivers and early educators.

Program Elements

To lead the project, we were extremely fortunate to engage the services of Aaron Stabel, BCBA, a Child Behavior Analyst who works with school districts across the country.

Aaron, who lives with his family in Truckee, was eager to support a program benefitting children his hometown, and has been critical to the launch of the project and its success.

For the pilot year, we used a three-pronged community strategy, providing educational workshops for parents, creating a Professional Learning Community for Early Educators, and developing supportive partnerships with four local preschools.


Aaron provided visits to preschool programs and observed children’s interactions with one another and with teachers.

Rather than focusing on individual children, Aaron focused on the environment and activities with an eye to enhancements that could benefit all children by promoting self-regulation, creative play, and friendships.

These strategies included such things as: restructuring the environment and developing simple rules and expectations for children that are positive — what to do versus what not to do — and continuing to teach and reteach these rules.

Children learn behaviors by practice just as they learn to ride a bike or count to 100. Research shows that children learn positive behavior best when adults intentionally deliver high rates of praise statements versus negative at a ratio of 5 to 1.

These universal strategies apply at home and school and were the foundation of the educator and parent series, which helped accomplish another goal of the project — to create community-wide messaging and shared values around social emotional development.

Workshop evaluations from 130 participating parents and educators revealed the program’s impact and new approaches they are planning.

How to get involved

We look forward to the project’s second year, beginning in September, and invite all parents and educators to join us.

For information on how to become involved, please call Ruth at 530-582-2583 or email rhall@ttusd.org. In the meantime, excellent free resources on social emotional development are available at Vanderbilt University’s Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning. Check out the website at csefel.vanderbilt.edu.

Have a great summer with your family and remember: To help your children thrive, use intentional praise (5 positive statements for every negative) — and make a special time to play with them every day!

Ruth Jackson Hall is Early Learning Coordinator for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Visit ttusd.org to learn more.

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