Promoting children’s social-emotional learning through early education: piloting the Pyramid Model in Victorian preschools

Janene M. Swalwell, Louise A. McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The Pyramid Model (PM) is an evidence-based, early educational framework designed to promote all young children’s social-emotional-behavioural (SEB) learning. The tiered PM early education practice framework, developed in North America, embeds strategies for children with exceptional needs naturally and coherently integrates apparently divergent approaches to promoting young children’s SEB skills. Responsive teaching, which is fundamental to early education practice, is shown to link with positive behaviour support practices by means of incidental and planned intentional teaching. These early education PM practices are intended to promote children’s SEB skills when used together purposefully, consistently, and intensively. The PM’s potential application in Australia was investigated with 4–5-year-olds in 4 Victorian preschools. Quantitative data from the study suggested that after training and subsequent coaching in the PM, there was significant change in intervention educators’ behaviour, which was independently observed and rated using the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool. Concurrently, the SEB skills of the children in the intervention groups were shown to have developed at a significantly greater rate than the children in the contrast groups as assessed using the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-134
Number of pages13
JournalAustralasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • coaching
  • social-emotional learning
  • early childhood education
  • challenging behaviour
  • response to intervention
  • Pyramid Model

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