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Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT™) for Preschool Classrooms

TPOT™ for Preschool Classrooms Set
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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

TPOT logoEarly 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.

Calculate results

Once you’ve completed your TPOT observation, calculating results is easy with the TPOT Scoring Spreadsheet.

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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