By Stefanie Camoni
What if there was a way to lower the number of challenging behaviors in your classroom? Would you believe it? The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) have created the pyramid model a conceptual framework of evidence based practices to improve the social and emotional outcomes of young children. From this framework, many professional development courses have been created. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) has been implemented in programs across Pennsylvania using the framework as the base. PBIS uses the tiered supports of the pyramid to provide the skills and supports needed for different levels of intervention. These supports can be implemented for all ages, from infants through school-age.
The pyramid has 4 different tiers. It is a bottom up approach, so implementation begins with the bottom tier and builds upon each until reaching the top. Following is a basic overview of each tier as provided by CSEFEL on their website (http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/index.html):
- Yellow Foundation: The foundation for all the practices in the pyramid are the systems and policies necessary to ensure a workforce able to adopt and sustain these evidence-based practices. Having an effective workforce is important in providing a solid foundation.
- Blue Tier: Universal supports for all children through nurturing and responsive relationships and high quality environments. The focus on relationships puts importance on the teacher for responsive and positive interactions with the children and their families.
- Green Tier: Prevention which represents practices that are targeted social emotional strategies to prevent problems. All young children will require adult guidance and instruction, but for some, focused instruction may be needed to teach social-emotional skills like self-regulation, problem solving, strategies to handle anger, etc.
- Red Tier: Intervention which is comprised of practices related to individualized intensive interventions. The goal is to reduce the number of children that need this level of intensive intervention by helping them be successful through the lower tiered strategies. This level would be done with a very low percentage of children and would also include families and specialists within the field.
There are many resources available to assist programs in not only providing tips and alternative strategies associated with this framework but also in providing professional development to centers and their staff. Below are some resources to help plan and implement PBIS and the Pyramid Model:
- Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/about.html
- Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) http://challengingbehavior.fmhi.usf.edu/index.htm
- Pennsylvania Positive Behavior Support http://www.papbs.org/Home
- The Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports https://www.pbis.org/