Concerns about the negative consequences of challenging behavior in the early years,
coupled with troubling data on preschool expulsion, especially for young boys of color,
have led to an urgent national discourse on how to prevent and address these behaviors.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently published
the Statement on Suspension and Expulsion in Early Childhood Settings
A key recommendation from this policy statement include the need for early childhood
programs to develop and clearly communicate preventative guidance and discipline policies
that are developmentally appropriate and promote social emotional and behavioral health.
It was also recommended that policies should describe discipline and intervention
procedures, be implemented consistently and without bias, and be clearly communicated
to parents, staff, and community partners.
About the TAGPEC
The Teaching and Guidance Essential Policies Checklist (TAGPEC) is a field-tested
checklist to examine the quality of guidance policies in preschool through third grade
The TAGPEC can be used as a tool to help guide early care and education administrators
and educators in creating equitable and effective behavior guidance policies and to
evaluate existing policies. The TAGPEC can also be used to collect data on discipline
practices to ensure fair and effective practice. Addressing disparities in a child’s
earliest education can help to close the achievement opportunity gap.
The TAGPEC is aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Framework and reflects state-level
early learning standards. Its focus on systems-level support related to the provision
of high quality teacher-child interactions and intentional guidance strategies are
also in line with the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, a widely-used tool in the
field of ECE.
Teaching & Guidance in Early Years
The TAGPEC reflects the authors’ philosophical orientation towards the centrality
of teaching and guidance in ECE.
The TAGPEC is based on humanistic values in which all children are viewed as having
an innate capacity for self-actualization and should be treated with dignity and respect.
From this vantage point, the role of the caregiver is to assist children to reach
their highest potential (Rogers, 1961), and the use of strategies that are punitive,
degrading and/or dehumanizing are prohibited (Horner et al., 1990).
While traditional approaches to discipline involve punishing children for misbehavior,
valuing obedience over learning, power assertions between the caregiver and child,
and strategies that may hurt, shame, or belittle children (Kaiser & Rasminksy, 2011),
behavior guidance focuses on teaching children the appropriate ways to behave.
The TAGPEC is grounded in the belief that child behavior is transactional in nature,
with both caregivers and the child contributing to the relationship (Ciciolla, Gerstein
& Crnic, 2013). In this approach, problem behavior occurs within the context of caregiver-child
relationships; consequently, problem behaviors are best resolved within these relationships
via the socialization practices of the caregivers.