The History of Reaching IN…Reaching OUT

Since its inception, Reaching IN...Reaching OUTOM (RIRO)'s evolution has been influenced by current resilience research, multiple partnerships, funders, and participation from diverse community groups comprised of early learning and care staff, service providers, parents, caregivers, and children. The following outlines a few of the key moments and relationships that have shaped RIRO's ongoing development.

It all began in 1998 when the Child and Family Partnership(RIRO’s founding sponsor) conducted a systematic search for best practice models to promote resilience in very young children. The Penn Resilience Program (PRP) for children over eight years of age and the adult skills training programme, developed by Dr. Martin Seligman and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, were chosen based on their promising evidence base.

In 2002, funding was received to adapt and test the feasibility of using key content from the adult resiliency skills and PRP training programs at the University of Pennsylvania, to train child care and early learning staff working with young children in child care. It was anticipated that child care and early learning staff would practice the resiliency skills in their own lives and would be able to introduce the skills to children through role modeling and direct teaching during their daily interactions with children. Willowdale Child Care and Learning Centre, one of the County of Wellington’s directly operated child care programmes, participated in the initial RIRO pilot project back in 2002.

The research team, appointed staff, and child care and early learning staff worked together to create and pilot activities centered on the resiliency skill areas with children at the pilot centres. The activities were used to support children's development of critical abilities associated with resilience. A year later, child care and early learning staff completed structured surveys and interviews about the impact of the training on themselves, co-workers and children. The results of the evaluation demonstrated that the resiliency skills training had a positive impact on the child care and early learning staff, and that child care and early learning staff were able to identify positive ways that the training impacted the children within their community. You can learn more about RIRO's evaluation here.

This pilot project became the foundation for what is now known as the 12-hour RIRO Resiliency Skills Training Programme for child care and early learning staff and service providers working with children under eight years of age. 

In 2002 Jennifer Pearson, B.F.A , DipTIRP,, and Darlene Kordich Hall, Ph.D became the co-creators of Reaching IN...Reaching OUT and its many resources with Jennifer taking the role of Master Trainer for RIRO and BBT, and Lead Programme Developer while Darlene developed and coordinated RIRO's funded projects and focused on the development of RIRO's online resources and programme evaluation.  In 2013, Jennifer became Coordinator for Programme Development and Training while Darlene became Coordinator for Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilization.

An educator reading to a group of toddlers


Since 2002, Reaching IN…Reaching OUT has developed a variety of special training programmes for child care and early learning staff, service providers, parents (and those in a parenting role) and individuals interested in becoming RIRO / BBT trainers, including:

  • RIRO Trainer Intensive Programme that was developed to provide training to child care and early learning staff and service providers interested in becoming authorized RIRO / BBT trainers. Since this time more than 800 professionals have become authorized as a RIRO or BBT trainer. You can learn more about the Trainer Intensive Programme here.

In 2020 Jennifer and Darlene announced their retirement and RIRO moved to its new home when it was acquired by the County of Wellington. We wish to acknowledge the authorship of Jennifer Pearson and Darlene Kordich Hall in RIRO’s programme development, research and evaluation.

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