Pyramid Model

Wisconsin Pyramid Model - defining the framework.

The Wisconsin Pyramid Model promotes the social and emotional development of infants, toddlers, young children, and adults.


The Framework:

  1. Early Childhood Personnel and Families Use Effective Practices
    • Systems and policies promote and sustain the use of evidence-based practices.
  2. Nurturing and Responsive Relationships
    • Supportive, responsive relationships among adults and children necessary for promoting social emotional development.
  3. High Quality Supportive Environments
    • High quality environments promote positive outcomes for all young children.
  4. Targeted Social and Emotional Supports
    • Systemic approaches have preventive and remedial effects on social emotional development.
  5. Intensive Interventions
    • Assessment-based interventions result in effective individualized intervention.

What does the Pyramid Model look like at the Child Development Lab?

We genuinely respect and care about all children in our program.

We prioritize the social and emotional wellbeing of children and families, through intentional interactions and compassionate conversations. We hold genuine interest in learning about, caring for, and supporting each individual in our program.

We get to know our families and include them in community activities and school-wide decisions.

Through daily classroom communications, monthly newsletters, satisfaction surveys, our family photo staircase, and community potlucks - our families are always represented, considered, and included during school-wide decisions and community events.

Duck Classroom: A CDL Family presented on Lunar New Year and shared traditions during circle time.

We incorporate children's interests into our daily teachings to enrich their experience at our program.

Classes explore children's curiosities through a myriad of ways. Observations made in the classroom and in the Beyond, often lead to inspired activities, such as art and imaginative play, deepening initial reflections and perspectives.

We gently guide children to use calm down strategies when needed.

Pyramid Model trainings such as Positive Behavior Guidance, and Culturally Responsive Practices, help our teaching team to create thoughtful rules from expectations, reduce implicit biases, and support young learners to navigate behaviors/emotions.

Child reading in a cozy corner.

We work with families and community partners to problem solve when there is a concern.

With informed guidance from specialists in Infant and Pediatric Mental Health, Early Intervention, and our Outreach Faculty Fellow - teachers and families collaborate with community partners to address and support unique concerns.

Picture of the Duck Class on the Green Glass

We support one another to be our best for our community each day.

Our program wide expectations, daily check-ins, and our Reflective Practice Peer Group meetings, foster an encouraging and supportive environment for every child, every family member, every student, and every teacher.

Children dancing with the UW Marching Band.

Program-Wide Expectations

Our research-based framework includes teachers using universal approaches, opportunities for professional teacher coaching, and the creation of a Pyramid Model leadership team, that focuses on supporting the social and emotional development of children.

Through this guidance, the CDL established a set of Program-Wide Expectations for all adults and children in our school community: Be Safe, Be Kind, Stay Curious.

Depicting Safety at the CDL: Two teachers, one holding a sign saying "Listening Ears" and the other saying "Walking feet please." 6 children holding hands.
Depicting Kindness at the CDL: One adult, four children outdoors. Two kids sharing cars on a hill, and one child is helping a hurt child. The adult teacher stands nearby with a first aid kit.
Depicting Stay Curious at the CDL: One adult teacher, two kids, looking at butterflies with magnifying glasses.

In Collaboration with the Madison Metropolitan School District

The Child Development Lab is a community-wide implementation site with the Madison Metropolitan School District. MMSD implements the Pyramid Model framework at schools and community partner sites through staff trainings, observations, and direct support from district leaders to strengthen universal program practices and early intervention strategies.