A Call to Action

  • 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 classrooms.
  • 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. 

TAGPEC checklist