The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 27, 2014

Pre-school program bolsters emotional vocabulary

Model being rolled out in Mankato classrooms

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Having been a pre-school teacher for 10 years or so, she said students used to come in feeling frustrated about something and just be able to say they were mad. The teacher instinct was to try and get them to not feel that way.

Now, she said, thanks to the TACSEI model, her students have the vocabulary to understand that what their feeling is frustration. And instead of directing them away from that feeling, she says that it's OK to feel frustrated, and they talk about what they can do about the problem.

“It is about teaching them the different array of emotions and how to handle them, teaching them it's OK to have different feelings,” she said.

Gallaher said some of behavioral practices associated with TACSEI are things most pre-school teachers use with their students. But the model makes it so “we're a little bit more intentional about it.”

The model focuses on reinforcing positive behavior instead of negative, which serves as a good precursor to the K-12 Positive Behavior Intervention Supports system in the district, Gallaher said. Basically, instead of giving kids a list of rules for behavior at certain places and times, they're given consistent behavior expectations that apply throughout the day in all aspects of student life at school.

Since incorporating TACSEI, Gallaher said she's seen an improvement in communication and vocabulary, and they're more independent about taking care of their own needs and making decisions. The model also is giving students a good foundation in social skills and learning to affirm each other.

“They almost learn more from their peers,” she said.

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