During the earliest years, social and emotional development begins in young children, which is the ability to express and understand emotions, develop social skills, and engage in problem solving strategies to maintain healthy relationships. All young children need caring, responsive, knowledgeable parents and caregivers to support this development.
Alliance for Kids, the Early Childhood Council for El Paso County, promotes high quality early childhood experiences by training early childhood professionals and educating the community on the value of social and emotional health in young children. Providers in the community noticed challenging behaviors in young children, which led to classroom disruption and teacher burnout. (Challenging behaviors are repeated behaviors in children that interfere with their learning and engagement.) State and community data also showed the need to help providers manage these challenging behaviors and nurture the social and emotional development of all children.
In partnership with the Pyramid Plus Center at the Colorado Center for Social Emotional Competence and Inclusion and generous support from the Colorado Health Foundation, Alliance for Kids began a three-year project in 2015 to implement the nationally recognized Pyramid Plus Approach (PPA). PPA provides a framework of tiered strategies to promote social and emotional development in all young children, including children at risk and those with special needs. PPA offers support to teachers, parents, and caregivers to respond to children’s needs and assists in creating positive early experiences for healthy social and emotional development.
Further, while PPA provides training, coaching, and supports to early childhood professionals it also includes a parenting competent, “Positive Solutions for Families,” which gives parents and teachers a common approach and language. As of March 2018, over 3,500 young children and their families have been engaged in PPA in over 90 classrooms, including both center-based and home providers. Positive Solutions for Families has served over 300 local families.
As a result of PPA, teachers have reported less difficulty in managing challenging behaviors, improved classroom environments, and positive impacts on the social and emotional development of children within their care. Parents and caregivers are also better equipped with knowledge and tools to encourage positive and healthy development in their child.
Alliance for Kids and the community are working to grow and sustain the model for educators, children, and their families for many years to come.
Learn more about Alliance for Kids’ work to support young children and their families.