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The Pyramid Model: High-Quality Supportive Environments

Near the base of the Pyramid Model, we find high-quality early childhood environments. These environments promote positive outcomes for all children. Included in the environment is the physical arrangement of space, meaningful activities that are engaging to each child, predictable schedules, and helping children understand the expectations. Along with curriculum, the environment is the framework for the classroom.

The physical environment is another strategy to promote positive social and emotional development and competence. The classroom design promotes social interactions and participation in activities that provide developmental opportunities.

Children are more comfortable when they have consistent, simple, positively stated rules to follow. These rules help them to demonstrate positive social and emotional behaviors and avoid using inappropriate behavior to meet their needs. These rules need to be taught and practiced as part of the daily routine.

The design of the environment not only is a teaching tool, but a preventative practice when addressing challenging behaviors. When materials are organized, culturally sensitive, interesting, developmentally appropriate, and available to children, they are more engaging. Schedules that balance small and large group times and active and quite activities, and minimize transitions, meet the needs of young children.

Providing transitions from one activity to another with minimal waiting time, clear directions, and a good understanding of what is happening next creates a predictable climate for young children.

Implementing the high quality supportive environment along with nurturing and responsive relationships in early childhood programs is good for all children. All children need opportunities to learn and practice appropriate ways to express their emotions and demonstrate positive social skills.