Teaching Pyramid
Teaching Pyramid
Working Together

Resources & Background Materials

About California CSEFEL

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.

Resources for Preservice Faculty

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

ECE F249: Current Issues in ECE: Positive Behavior Support Systems 3 credit hours
10-307-171: Behavior and Emotional Challenges
Eced 2110: Advanced Learning Environments 3 credit hours
ECE 237: Theories and Techniques of Social and Emotional Growth 3 credit course
Educ 886: Individualized Intensive Interventions for Young Children: Social Emotional Development II 1 graduate credit

Other Resources

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

Implementing the Pyramid Model with fidelity and achieving positive outcomes for children and their families requires that administrators understand their roles in the implementation process. Every administrative decision impacts program quality and sustainability. This Issue Brief underscores the importance of facilitative administrative practices that provide sustained commitment, timely training, competent coaching, the use of process and outcome data for decision-making, and the development of policies and procedures that are aligned with high fidelity implementation (July, 2009).
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).
In recent years, there have been major concerns expressed regarding the use of restraint and seclusion to control the behavior of children with disabilities and/or challenging behavior. In May of 2009, for example, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released findings regarding a number of cases in which seclusion and restraint were abused to the point that children were physically and psychologically injured. (February, 2011)
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).


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.
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.
Published in Young Children, July 2003 This article was written by Center faculty and describes a conceptual framework for change that guides the work of the Center. Specifically, this model maps out how to proceed in a systematic fashion and helps us decide where immediate attention is it most necessary regarding children's social emotional issues and challenging behavior.
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.

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).
This TACSEI Roadmap considers family-focused services and practices for promoting social-emotional development of children served in Part C. Its specific focus is on interventions that influence parenting practices for infants and toddlers with or at risk for disabilities (September, 2010).
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).
The purpose of this document is to provide a brief overview of the use of screening and to help administrators and teachers choose appropriate instruments for implementing a screening program (January, 2009).
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).

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.

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.
This fact sheet describes what evidence-based practitioners do, notes some of the challenges that affect the implementation of evidence-based practices, and offers advice for addressing those challenges.
Many young children engage in challenging behavior when they do not have the social or communicative skills to express their needs or feelings in appropriate ways. This fact sheet discusses how to prevent and address problem behavior by teaching children social skills they can use in place of problem behavior.
Social competence is critically important for a child's readiness for school. This fact sheet discusses the importance of school readiness and provides guidance on how to ensure that policy, programs, and educators can promote readiness.
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.
Evidence-based program practices are provided in this fact sheet. A comprehensive model of universal, secondary, and indicated prevention and intervention practices are described.
This fact sheet provides guidance on program practices that may be used to support very young children with challenging behavior and their families.

Other Handouts

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