How the Pyramid Model Helped Kansas Early Childhood Teachers Rediscover Their Love for Teaching

How the Pyramid Model Helped Kansas Early Childhood Teachers Rediscover Their Love for Teaching

November 24, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


As an administrator I think my role is to support staff and when you know that there are issues with your team and that they’re not as effective as they could
be you want to figure out what the challenge
is and how you can help them so I was hearing from them that
they couldn’t teach because all they were doing is dealing with challenging behavior and you know I think that’s very normal in today’s
society and so I didn’t think there was anything unusual
about that in our program but I knew that we had to do something about it And so
I was going around talking to teachers at the
end of the year and actually one of them told me this story that was so riveting that I couldn’t forget it
and she was telling me I went there and I just said we’re going
to talk about the school year and that’s something we normally did it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary tell me
what are you proud of what are you sorry about
from this year and she started crying and she said do
you really want to know and I could tell
that she was very upset so we went outside and went for a walk and she just became more and more upset and almost agitated and very frustrated and she said you know when I go home at night I pull in the driveway and my hands are frozen on the steering wheel I start crying and I completely lose control because I know I have nothing left for my family I’ve been dealing with behaviors all day long I have given so much of myself that there just isn’t anything left and she said you know how that feels I feel like such a failure and I feel like I’m not giving the children
what they need and children don’t get do-overs and if you don’t capture that in those moments for those children they’ve lost it so since I don’t know how to handle their challenging
behavior I’m not effective in the classroom and she said when I get home I’m so distraught I don’t have anything left for my family so I feel like a failure both in my personal
life and my professional life as an administrator that’s really hard to hear from one of your staff excuse me so I knew we needed to do something so we started looking around for models and I was working with a behavior consultant we were talking about what we could do and she said you know Linda just having training
isn’t gonna get it it just isn’t gonna get it we have to help you develop a system
of support that actually is going to help not only your staff but in return will help the children and their
families and so we started looking at things and I
read information about this Positive Behavior Suport model and the Teaching Pyramid and it really captured me because that’s who I am I like being positive and I think being positive is a better way to live your
life and so we started looking at this model and I’m happy to say
we’re in our ninth year of implementation and we adopted it program-wide the first year which was a little crazy but we did it and I think staff were really
appreciative knowing that we were trying to do something even though it’s a difficult thing to make that that big change but as a result you know every year when I would talk to the staff
the number one thing they would talk about is challenging behavior that’s it they didn’t talk about all the positive things that the kids had done they just talked about
challenging behavior and
so for the last four years when I’ve had meetings
with staff I’ve not only met with them individually but I’ve brought
them together and over the last four years not one time in four years has challenging behavior been brought up as an issue over the year because they feel like they have the tools they have a system
they have support they’re confident they’re competent they can do it you know it works for all kids it works for staff the model works with families we partner with
families it works with our special education partners it works with mental health it just works and so even though it’s more intensive in the beginning the payoffs in the end are just really great and staff satisfaction has skyrocketed it it’s unbelievable I don’t have any more money
to pay them but they love their jobs they feel good about what they’re doing child
outcomes are unbelievable the children are learning they are more ready
for school and that’s what we’re about that’s what we want to have happen but I think more importantly than that we are teaching life skills and these are skills that children and staff and their families will use the rest of their
lives they know how to solve problems they know
how to resolve conflicts they know how to regulate themselves they
really know how to think things through and be more responsive instead of reactive so we’ve developed I believe this model of prevention as opposed to intervention and it just feels
so good to know that you can do that and you know we used to not feel like we had the skills and we
would refer all of the children out like to mental health experts or to special education
providers and even though we still work with them we work with them on our team
instead of they are out there and they are the experts and we are somebody
who has to bring them in to help us with this child so I believe that it has really strengthened
our program it has strengthened our relationship with parents the staff is working as a team and as a result of all our work around this we’re building a stronger community because these skills produce better citizens and when these children go out into the world
they are going to have the skills that they need I actually believe that everybody adopted this model we could
reduce the crime rate in this country because people would not be so impulsive and
they would understand how to regulate their actions so you know I’m a believer as you can tell
PBS to me those letters are a personal belief system I believe in the model I believe in what we’re trying to do to change
the lives of children and their families and I think that it’s certainly the greatest thing that ever
happened to our program