How well are preschool teachers implementing Pyramid Model practices?
Use the TPOT™ to reinforce high-quality practices that support children’s social-emotional development and behavior
Early childhood care and education programs use the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT™) for Preschool Classrooms to measure how well teachers are implementing the 3-tiered Pyramid Model of practices that support children’s social competence and prevent challenging behaviors. TPOT results can be used to
- reinforce interactions that promote social-emotional competence in young children
- implement strategies to prevent and address challenging behavior
- compare implementation across early childhood classrooms, teachers, and programs
- guide training and coaching for teachers
Download a quick summary of TPOT in this TPOT At-A-Glance sheet.
Arrange for the observation on a day when the lead teacher will be present and the typical schedule is being followed. Let the teacher know the type of activities you will observe and the need for a brief interview when the teacher is not interacting with the children.
To conduct the observation, position yourself where you can view the activities of the teacher. Be as unobtrusive as possible. Keep a running record of notes about actions of the teacher that are related to implementation of Pyramid Model practices.
Complete the interview on the same day as the observation. Ask the questions exactly as stated in the scoring form. Write
down everything the teacher says and later use those responses to score the indicators.
Score the TPOT after the observation and interview are completed. Use the notes you recorded to guide you in determining the scores for each indicator. It is important to do the scoring immediately after conducting the TPOT.
Use the TPOT results for data-driven planning and monitoring of professional development, both program-wide and to support individual teachers’ use of instructional practices and interactions.
At a glance
What does it assess?
The TPOT is an observation tool that measures the implementation of classroom practices specifically related to promoting young children’s social-emotional competence and addressing challenging behavior in the preschool classroom.
Who are the developers?
The TPOT was developed by the creators of the Pyramid Model, which was developed at two national centers: the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Interventions (TACSEI).
What are the components?
- observation of a preschool classroom, including teacher-directed activities (large-group circle,
small-group instruction), child-directed activities (center time, free play), and
transitions that occur between activities
- an interview with the teacher
What does it examine?
TPOT has three subscales that examine
- key practices in 14 areas (“Teachers engage in supportive conversations with children.“) with multiple indicators associated with the practices (“Teacher acknowledges the children’s communication to him or her.“)
- red flags (“Transitions are more chaotic than not.“)
- responses to challenging behavior (“Teacher responds to children by stating the expected behavior in positive terms (i.e., what to do) or providing instruction in an acceptable alternative behavior.“)
Where is it conducted?
In early childhood classrooms that serve children 2–5 years of age
Who conducts it?
A trained administrator
How long does it take to complete?
2 hours for the classroom observation and 15 to 20 minutes for the interview with the teacher
How long does it take to score?
Scoring takes 30 to 45 minutes
Is it research-based?
The TPOT has been widely researched and piloted with good results