New observation tool measures implementation of the Pyramid Model in early childhood programs

Home » About Us » News & Media » Press Releases » New observation tool measures implementation of the Pyramid Model in early childhood programs
Posted on: February 9th, 2014

Contact: Amy Perkins, Brookes Publishing
410-337-9580 x128;
Download the press release

Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT™) for Preschool ClassroomsBaltimore, Maryland (February 2014) – Now available in an updated version from Brookes Publishing, the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT™) for Preschool Classrooms, Research Edition, assesses fidelity of implementation of the evidence-based Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children. Widely used across the country by thousands of early childhood professionals, the three-tier Pyramid Model is a framework of practices that support children’s social-emotional competence and prevent challenging behaviors. The TPOT™ examines teachers’ use of strategies related to universal, targeted, and individualized supports.

Used in programs serving children who are 2–5 years of age, the TPOT™ includes a 2-hour classroom observation and a 15- to 20-minute interview with the teacher. Conducted by a trained observer, the assessment tool uncovers detailed information about the quality of 14 key teaching practices, examines red flag issues that indicate areas for immediate support, and observes how teachers respond to challenging behaviors. TPOT™ results can be used to describe the quality of implementation of Pyramid practices, compare implementation across classrooms and teachers, and identify teachers’ training and support needs. Results will also help programs guide coaching efforts and implement strategies to prevent and address challenging behavior.

Pyramid Model coaches in North Carolina have been using the TPOT™ assessment since 2010. Smokie Brawley, Statewide Project Manager of North Carolina’s Healthy Social Behaviors Initiative at Child Care Resources, Inc., says that “the TPOT™ has provided a standardized measure of fidelity to the Pyramid Model and a guide for coaching administrative and teaching staff, regardless of facility differences or teacher education.” Erin Barton, Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, describes the tool as “indispensable” and says “the TPOT™’s proven validity, reliability, feasibility, and practicality make it a must have for ALL preschool programs.”

A manual with background information about the Pyramid model, guidance on administering and scoring the tool, and information on interpreting results is available to support effective use. A two-day reliability training on the TPOT™ will take place on April 21­­­­­­–22, 2014 as part of the 11th Annual National Training Institute on Effective Practices: Addressing Challenging Behavior in Florida. For more information about the training, visit

For more information on the TPOT™, visit

About the Developers

Lise Fox, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida and the Co-Director of Florida Center for Inclusive Communities: A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (  She was the Principal Investigator of the Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention ( funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. Dr. Fox is engaged in research and training efforts related to the implementation of the Pyramid Model in early education and care classrooms, program-wide models of implementation, and positive behavior support.

Mary Louise Hemmeter, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She teaches courses, advises students, and conducts research on early childhood issues. She is the co-faculty director of the Susan Gray School for Children, an early childhood program for children with and without disabilities. Her research focuses on effective instruction, social-emotional development and challenging behavior, translating research to practice, and effective approaches to professional development. Currently, she directs an IES-funded research project focused on the efficacy of implementing the Teaching Pyramid in classrooms, and she works on the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning and the OSEP-funded Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Interventions. She served as President of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and received the Merle B. Karnes award from DEC.

Patricia Snyder, Ph.D., is the David Lawrence, Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies and Director of the Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida. She has more than 35 years of experience in early intervention and early childhood as a direct service provider, program administrator, faculty member, and researcher. Her research focuses on embedded instruction for early learning, young children’s social-emotional competence, professional development, and measurement of early childhood outcomes. She has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator for a number of funded research and technical assistance projects focused on these research areas. She served two terms as a principal member of the early intervention and early learning in special education review panel for the Institute of Education Sciences, is a member of the Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices Commission, and has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and service contributions to the field, including the Mary E. McEvoy Service to the Field and Merle B. Karnes Service to the Division awards from the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.

About Brookes Publishing

Brookes Publishing is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. For 35 years, the company has partnered with top experts on trusted books and tools that improve lives—from the critical early years through adulthood. Brookes Publishing is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information, please visit