The Teaching Pyramid approach was first introduced to California through Head Start training and technical assistance providers. Comprehensive training in the full module approach came through the First5 Special Needs Project in 2006. One of the objectives of the First 5 Special Needs Project was to promote strategies and practices that improve early identification and intervention for children from diverse backgrounds who have disabilities, behavioral/mental health concerns, and other special needs. Demonstration sites in San Diego, Merced, and Los Angeles Counties elected to receive comprehensive training from the National Center for Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) on the Teaching Pyramid framework to meet Special Needs Project objectives and to support social and emotional development and school readiness in their communities. Linda Brault, then Special Needs Project director and now Teaching Pyramid project director, collaborated with the National CSEFEL to provide comprehensive training. Thus began California’s first systematic training on the Teaching Pyramid and the relationship with National CSEFEL.
Teaching Pyramid Training in 13 Counties
The success of the programs in those first three counties led to requests for additional training in those sites and initial training in programs in other counties outside the Special Needs Project. Linda Brault and her staff trained with and were mentored by the National CSEFEL training team, thus building capacity for training within California. Since then, WestEd has provided or is in the process of providing comprehensive program-wide Teaching Pyramid training to multiple sites in 13 different counties. The sites include school districts, Head Start programs, Title V-funded programs, community-based organizations, private centers, and County Offices of Education.
California Collaborative for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CA CSEFEL)
The Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) of the California Department of Education (CDE) recognized the benefits of the National CSEFEL Teaching Pyramid framework and worked with WestEd to have California become an official partner state. WestEd and ELCD co-lead the California Collaborative for Social-Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CA CSEFEL) Leadership Team. For more on the accomplishments of CA CSEFEL, visit the CA CSEFEL web page.
First 5 LA Training with an Evaluation Component
WestEd contracted with First5 Los Angeles for comprehensive Teaching Pyramid program training for preschool programs within six school districts. Qualitative evaluation following the training provided lessons learned and documentation of the successes and challenges of Teaching Pyramid implementation in case studies for each of the participating school districts. See the Final Report (PDF).
Sacramento County Office of Education Inclusion Partners Project
Sacramento County Office of Education identified several programs and districts with collaborative inclusive classrooms for training on the Teaching Pyramid. The training was given to the inclusive classroom teams in Head Start and school districts. A training-of-trainers and coaches component was included with the module training, and local community members provided the classroom coaching. A similar model was followed in Fresno.
Adaptations for Family Child Care Settings
WestEd collaborated with Family Child Care at Its Best, a quality improvement program funded by the ELCD-CDE, to adapt the Teaching Pyramid concepts and practices for family child care settings. The adaptations focus on Modules 1 and 2 and are being piloted in 2012 in regions throughout the state.