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The Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence for Infants and Young Children  

What is the Pyramid Model?     


In very simple terms, the Pyramid Model supports young children in having better social and emotional skills and less challenging behaviors.


Developing healthy social and emotional skills begins at birth and continues throughout childhood. These skills enable children to share, make friends, positively manage and express their feelings, show empathy, resolve conflict, and gain self-control. Well-developed social and emotional skills provide children with a strong foundation for success in school and life. 


Families, caregivers and early childhood practitioners working together is an essential part of the Pyramid Model. It is a partnership that enhances everyone's ability to optimize young children’s social-emotional development and to understand and respond to challenging behavior using consistent, positive supports.

The Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence for Infants and Young Children

As you can see in the diagram included here, the Pyramid Model includes four levels: Effective Workforce, Nurturing Responsive Relationships and High-Quality Supportive Environments; Targeted Social Emotional Supports; and Intensive Intervention. The NH Pyramid Model Tip Card provides a basic explanation of each level.

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Effective Workforce

At the foundation of the Pyramid Model is a trained, effective workforce. This includes making sure that there are systems and policies in place to ensure that those working with young children receive ongoing training and support to implement and sustain the Pyramid Model practices.


Nurturing Responsive Relationships and High-Quality Supportive Environments

This level of the Pyramid Model supports all children by providing nurturing and responsive relationships in safe, supportive environments. These are critical to healthy social and emotional development.


Targeted Social Emotional Supports

This level of support emphasizes teaching children how to identify and express their emotions, develop problem-solving skills, play cooperatively with other children, and develop skills for handling anger and disappointment.


Intensive Intervention

At times, children may require individualized and intensive supports that include planning with families to meet their needs and address their challenging behaviors.

Local Pyramid Model Efforts     

Lower Grafton Council for Young Children and Families’ goal is to collaborate with families, community partners, and policy makers to create a sustainable, community-wide system that promotes the social and emotional development of young children. This system will support the local implementation of the Pyramid Model Framework, with fidelity, within a variety of early childhood programs and settings across our community.

So, what does all this mean and how are we going to do it?

LGCYCF currently has 3 Pyramid Model Implementation Sites.


These sites are receiving expert coaching, technical assistance, professional development, a data and evaluation system, and family engagement support to build their capacity to implement the Pyramid Model Framework with high-fidelity. Implementation to fidelity means that the programs are carrying out the Pyramid Model accurately and consistently, as originally specified by its developers. Detailed information about how to promote high-fidelity implementation can be found in this Issue Brief.  

Recommended Pyramid Model Resources for Families and Practitioners


For additional information, take a look at these state and national resources.

Pyramid Model Overview

If you would like a more comprehensive overview of the Pyramid Model, view the video shown here. 

Want to Take a Deeper Dive? 

Review the information provided by the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations.

Current Pyramid Model Efforts

If you have questions, want to learn more, or would like to get involved with the Pyramid Model  contact Tricia Patten at

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