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The Pyramid Model: Targeted Social Emotional Supports

Specific strategies are identified to systematically support children to develop competence in emotional literacy, problem solving, impulse control, and building and maintaining friendships. These strategies are used intentionally to prevent problem behaviors and to modify or change them if they do occur. There are curricula that are specifically designed to address these skills. There is a need to be intentional in teaching children how to best “use” their emotions through various strategies.

The Center for Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CSEFEL) provides information on using children’s books to teach social skills. They provide a list of selected books and suggestions for how to use them in this capacity. In addition, they provide a variety of resources for creating your own books. These books can target particular behaviors and/or situations that are occurring in a particular program.

Different adults find different behaviors challenging. They bring their own experiences and expectations to the situations. Teaching behaviors that are agreed upon eliminate this bias. Teaching positive behaviors and social skills also removes the blame from a child, and places the focus on learning acceptable behaviors.

Without a plan for working through children’s challenging behaviors, staff are not feeling confident in their approach. In these situations, there are reports of staff leaving work in tears, high levels of stress and burnout, and seeking a “quick fix.”