“The term social emotional development refers to the developing capacity of the child from birth through five years of age to form close and secure adult and peer relationships; experience, regulate, and express emotions in socially and culturally appropriate ways; and explore the environment and learn – all in the context of family, community, and culture.” - CSEFEL Definition

Why Focus on Social Emotional Development?

  • It not only impacts all other areas of growth and development, it is the foundation upon which all future development is built.

  • What caregivers share with & give children today, they will carry inside themselves forever.

  • Sets the “playing field” for school readiness & lifelong success. Children who have healthy social emotional skills tend to learn better, are more likely to stay in school & will be better able to make & keep lifelong friends.

We Teach 

Behavior is how children communicate their needs

Children often develop coping skills that may be interpreted as challenging behavior

It's an adults job to provide guidance & support for young children to express themselves/communicate their needs in appropriate ways

We teach children how to read, write, skip or ride a bike. If a child does not know how to behave, we teach social emotional skills! 


Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT)

TPOT is used as a social-emotional classroom observation tool for our preschool classrooms.

Master Teacher or designee must complete all sections of the TPOT: Red Flag Subscale for all preschool center-based teaching teams within the first 45 days of service and 60 days thereafter. TPOT results are used to guide training/coaching for:

  • Reinforcing interactions that promote social-emotional competence in young children
  • Implementing strategies to address challenging behavior

Teaching Pyramid

CSEFEL designed the Teaching Pyramid that builds upon a tiered public health approach to providing 3 levels of need.

  • Intensive services to those who need them (Yellow): Children with persistent challenges who need focused & individual attention
  • Targeted services to those who need more support (Green): Children At-Risk receive additional group intervention & support
  • Universal supports to all children to promote wellness (Blue) Practices & supports that are needed for all children
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Implementation Plan


Intensive & Targeted Services

Strategies to address Intensive & Targeted services are developed during Case Management & Child Success Team (CST) Meetings.


Universal Practices

Educators develop plans to implement strategies to provide guidance & support for children so that they may communicate their needs in appropriate ways. 


Connecting School to Home

Staff & parents work together to help young children develop social emotional skills & reduce challenging behaviors by focusing on one topic each month.

Educator Observation & Planning

Master Teacher, Child Care Specialist, Coach or Designee observes teaching strategies and works with Educators on developing plans for additional support. In addition, determines if the Educator’s focus should be on Level 1 or Level 2 strategies.

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