Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT)

What is the TPOT?

The TPOT focuses on the implementation of teaching and behavior support practices associated with the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children. The TPOT subscales include:

  • Key Practices – for example, teaching friendship skills, problem solving, connecting with families
  • Red Flags – for example, teachers report asking for the removal of children with persistent challenging behaviors, teachers not prepared for activities, teacher reprimands children for expressing emotions
  • Using Effective Strategies to Respond to Challenging Behavior – for example, teacher responds to children by stating the expected behavior, teacher provides support to children who are angry/upset by assisting them with problem solving related to the challenging behavior

Which program(s) could use the TPOT?

TPOT can be used to provide information to center based early childhood programs that serve children from 2-5 years of age.

The TPOT Assessment Process

External TPOT assessments are conducted by a reliable assessor from the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) team.

Internal TPOT assessments are conducted by the program’s internal assessment team. Programs partner with the Quality Coach and PQA team when planning for and conducting internal assessment, and when analyzing the information collected during the internal assessment process.

TPOT assessments include a 2-hour observation of child initiated and teacher directed activities and the transitions between activities. The observation is followed by a 15-20-minute teacher interview. A scoring summary profile is used to provide a summary of strengths, emerging skills and professional development needs.

How does the TPOT support Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)?

Use of the TPOT provides teachers with strategies to manage challenging behavior and promote social-emotional competence in children. The instrument helps to identify strengths and areas where teacher support or professional development is needed. The information gathered can also be used to help create the program’s continuous quality improvement plan.

Additional Information/Training

Additional Information on the TPOT, including downloadable documents and resources, may be found at:

Information on the Pyramid Model may be found at:

Are you interested in using the TPOT for internal assessment?

How to Conduct an Internal Assessment Using the TPOT (PDF) is a good place to start. It provides an at-a-glance of the assessment details, a list of materials to support internal assessments, links to professional learning resources, and step-by-step guidance for conducting the internal assessment.



Return to the Program Observation Instrument page.