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Teaching Pyramid

Multi-colored triangle next to the words Teaching Pyramid

Teaching Pyramid

Teaching Pyramid Menu

Resource & Background Materials

About California CSEFEL

Research Syntheses

What Works Briefs

Summaries of Effective Practices for Supporting Children's Social-Emotional Development and Preventing Challenging Behaviors. The Briefs describe practical strategies, provide references to more information about the practice, and include a one-page handout that highlights the major points of the Brief.

Brief 1

Brief 2

Brief 3

Brief 4

Brief 5

Brief 6

Brief 7

Brief 8

Brief 9

Brief 10

Brief 11

Brief 12

Brief 13

Brief 15

Brief 16

Brief 17

Brief 19

Brief 20

Brief 21

Brief 22

Brief 23

Brief 24

Resources for Preservice Faculty

The following are sample syllabi showing how others have embedded the CSEFEL material/approach into coursework.

Higher Education Tools

The Pyramid Model Goes To College: Module 1

The Pyramid Model Goes To College: Module 1.1

The Pyramid Model Goes To College: Module 2

The Pyramid Model Goes To College: Module 2.2

The Pyramid Model Goes To College: Module 2.3

Other Resources

  • Response to Intervention and the Pyramid Model (PDF)
    Response to Intervention (RtI) offers a comprehensive model for the prevention of delays in learning and behavior. While this problem-solving framework was initially designed for application within Kindergarten to 12th grade programs, there is substantial research that supports the value of the model for application within early childhood programs. This paper provides an overview of RtI and discusses the Pyramid Model (Fox, Dunlap, Hemmeter, Joseph, & Strain, 2003) and its application for promoting young children's social competence and preventing behavior challenges (June 2009).

Issue Briefs

  • Integrating Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation with the Pyramid Model (PDF)
    A growing number of states and communities are implementing the Pyramid Model in early care and education settings, and in many of these places there are also early childhood mental health consultation (ECMHC) programs operating. This practice brief provides an overview of ECMHC, how it can support the implementation of the Pyramid Model and the issues that arise when administrators seek to integrate these two approaches at the state and local levels. Mental health consultants can: (1) serve as coaches for implementing the Pyramid practices; (2) serve as adjuncts to coaches, by working with children, families and teachers; and (3) use the Pyramid Model to inform and organize their own strategies for working with teachers and families. (November, 2009).

  • Promoting Social, Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes of Young Children Served Under IDEA (PDF)
    A growing body of evidence confirms that serious and persistent challenging behaviors in early childhood directly relate to later problems in school success, social relationships, educational and vocational success, and social adjustment. This brief addresses several important questions policy makers may have about challenging behavior and how these issues relate to young children served under IDEA (January, 2007).


  • Active Implementation Frameworks for Program Success: How to Use Implementation Science to Improve Outcomes for Children (PDF)
    Published in Zero to Three, March 2012
    Over the past decade the science related to developing and identifying evidence-based programs and practices for children and families has improved significantly. However, the science related to implementing these programs in early childhood settings has lagged far behind. This article outlines how the science of implementation and the use of evidence-based Active Implementation Frameworks can close the research-to-practice gap in early childhood and ensure sustainable program success.

  • "You Got It!" Teaching Social and Emotional Skills (PDF)
    Published in Young Children, November 2006
    In this article we look at the secondary level of the teaching pyramid, which emphasizes planned instruction on specific social and emotional skills for children at risk for developing more challenging behavior, such as severe aggression, property destruction, noncompliance, or withdrawal. Children who may be considered at risk for challenging behavior are persistently noncompliant, have difficulty regulating their emotions, do not easily form relationships with adults and other children, have difficulty engaging in learning activities, and are perceived by teachers as being likely to develop more intractable behavior problems.

  • Prevention and intervention with young children's challenging behavior: A summary and perspective regarding current knowledge (PDF)
    Published in Behavioral Disorders (2006), 32, 29-45.
    This article written by Center faculty discusses the fact that challenging behavior exhibited by young children is becoming recognized as a serious impediment to social?emotional development and a harbinger of severe maladjustment in school and adult life. Consequently, professionals and advocates from many disciplines have been seeking to define, elaborate, and improve on existing knowledge related to the prevention and resolution of young children's challenging behaviors. The discussion section of this article addresses directions and priorities for practice and future research.

Roadmap to Effective Intervention Practices

The Roadmap to Effective Intervention Practices series addresses a variety of issues that are important to the field. More syntheses will be added to this site as they become available. Copying and distribution of these documents is encouraged.

  • Evidence-Based Social-Emotional Curricula and Intervention Packages for Children 0-5 Years and Their Families (PDF)
    The second publication in the TACSEI Roadmap series provides practical guidance to early childhood special education and early intervention personnel, early educators, families, and other professionals seeking interventions to promote healthy social emotional development in young children with and without disabilities. The information in this publication can also help individuals to intervene early with young children who may already be displaying problematic social emotional behaviors (June, 2009).

  • Promoting Social Behavior of Young Children in Group Settings: A Summary of Research (PDF)
    This brief synthesis provides a summary of intervention practices that are supported by empirical evidence for promoting adaptive social-emotional behavior of young children in group contexts (e.g., pre-K classrooms; child care settings). The focus of the synthesis is on toddlers and preschool children who are identified as having disabilities or who are at risk for disabilities, and who have identified problems with social-emotional behaviors (August, 2009).

  • Technical Assistance to Promote Service and System Change (PDF)
    The purpose of this TACSEI Roadmap document is to assist a range of stakeholders (e.g., early childhood service providers, parents, technical assistance providers) understand the types of TA that are most beneficial for achieving particular practice and systems outcomes. The paper explores and highlights TA strategies to initiate, implement, and sustain effective practice and systems change. The content of this Roadmap is based on a broad literature related to practice, service, and systems change, data and information related to TA across a number of domains (e.g., special education, general education, community prevention, aid for developing countries), and data and best practices related to implementation and scaling up of evidence-based practices (November, 2009).

Recommended Practice Handouts

The following handouts offer professionals and family members information on evidence-based recommendations for a variety of topics. Copying and distribution of these documents is encouraged.

  • Preventing Challenging Behavior in Young Children: Effective Practices (PDF)
    The single best way to address challenging behaviors in young children today is to take steps to make sure that they never occur. While there is no universal panacea for preventing challenging behaviors, there are several broad-based early intervention strategies that researchers suggest to prevent challenging behaviors.

  • Addressing Persistent Challenging Behaviors (PDF)
    Assessment-based, individualized interventions are needed for young children with persistent challenging behavior. This fact sheet provides guidance on the implementation of Positive Behavior Support and the development of effective behavior support strategies.

Book Nook

These easy-to-use guides were created especially for teachers/caregivers and parents to provide hands-on ways to embed social emotional skill building activities into everyday routines. Each book nook is comprised of ideas and activities designed around popular children's books.

Other Handouts

  • Facts About Young Children with Challenging Behavior (PDF)
    Young children with challenging behavior have a significant risk of continued problems, school failure, and social adjustment problems. This fact sheet provides a summary of the research on the significance of the issue, the social costs associated with young children who have challenging behavior, and the importance of early intervention.

  • Pyramid Model Handout (PDF)
    This handout illustrates the various levels of the Pyramid Model in a format that is easy to print and ideal for distribution.

  • The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children Fact Sheet (PDF)
    This four-page fact sheet provides an overview of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children. Specifically, this fact sheet describes the three tiers of intervention practice: universal promotion for all children; secondary preventions to address the intervention needs for children at risk of social emotional delays, and tertiary interventions needed for children with persistent challenges. Additionally, six key assumptions that were made during the design process about how the Pyramid Model would be implemented are outlined.