Pyramid is an educational method for all children between the ages of 2.5 and 7 years of age.The method has a number of special features for children who need extra support. These include extra language stimulation, interactive storytelling, extra play and initiative learning activities, activities for gifted children, and tutoring.
Education in the Pyramid Method means starting with the vulnerable child who cannot yet manage daily tasks without help and support, while at the same time stimulating children to distance themselves from us so they can learn to manage on their own.
Pyramid is based on a new theory: a synthesis of the theories of Piaget and of Vygostsky that moves beyond their work, the Dynamic System Theory. In contrast to the theory of Piaget, which has fixed developmental stages, the Dynamic Systems Theory consists of a series of dynamic long-term and short-term cycles in the early part of the life span.
During the growth cycles the child learns and relearns new skills through self regulation and through scaffolding by adults. Scaffolding provides assistance on an as-needed basis, with fading out of assistance as competence in crease.
One of the challenges for any teacher is to develop activities which accommodate the predominant learning styles present in a diverse group. The pyramid process, in shotgun fashion, provides learning by reflective writing; chatting and interview; watching an expert model tolerance of diversity of ideas; public reframing of conflicted ideas; listening to story telling; and listening to an authoritative systematic speaker. A wide range of learning styles are targeted in one exercise.
The first four (lecture, reading, audio visual and demonstration) are passive learning methods. In contrast, the bottom three (discussion group, practice by doing and teach others are participatory (active) learning methods. Arguably, the difference in retention between passive and participatory (active) methods is due to the extent of reflection and deep cognitive processing.
The Pyramid Approach to Education is a unique model of teaching that establishes effective learning environments for individuals with developmental disabilities and/or learning impairments. This model offers sound principles for those who teach in classroom, home or community settings. The Pyramid Approach is based on two types of learning elements: structural and instructional. The structural elements form the base of the Pyramid, creating an environment conducive to learning.
The Teaching Pyramid is part of Early Childhood FRIENDS (Fostering Relationships and Emotional [health] to Nurture Developmental Success. The framework is inclusive of many initiatives. In Nebraska, we have programs implementing the strategies of the Teaching Pyramid on a limited basis, but expect to have more over time.
The use of audio-visual materials in teaching--materials that do not depend primarily upon reading to convey their meaning. It is based upon the principle that all teaching can be greatly improved by the use of such materials because they can help make the learning experience memorable.
The Teaching Pyramid approach provides a systematic framework that promotes social and emotional development, provides support for children's appropriate behavior, prevents challenging behavior, and addresses problematic behavior. The WestEd Center for Child and Family Studies offers comprehensive professional development packages for infant/toddler, preschool, and early elementary educators. WestEd's Teaching Pyramid is based on evidence-based practice originally developed by the Center on the Social Emotional Foundations in Early Learning (CSEFEL), authorized by California Department of Education (CDE), and aligned with California's Early Learning and Development System.
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