What are Tiered Services?


What Tier do I need?

The goal of Tiered Services is to build capacity in educators, to promote inclusion and to support all children within licensed early learning programs. Universal Design for Learning is a framework that is the basis for this approach. Each Tier involves different levels of support/observation provided to the child, family and educators/caregivers involved. Because the tiered model is dynamic and fluid in nature, it can be difficult to determine where the various services fit within the tiers.  In the description of each Tier, there is a checklist provided to help distinguish between them.  Given that the model is dynamic, the below checklists are intended as general guidelines only as some children or situations may vary from these guidelines. The acknowledgement form signed during registration should be used to inform parents of supports.


Tier 1- Universal Services “beneficial for all”

At Tier 1, the focus is building the capacity of educators and caregivers, building relationships and collaborating on general strategies and resources.  We support the classroom, or program as a whole, rather than an individual child or specific group of children.


  • All children in the program are impacted by the service.
  • No child is intentionally targeted in general classroom observations.
  • UDL (Universal Design for Learning) strategies and resources are used.
  • Formal and informal professional development opportunities are offered to educators, caregivers and parents with the goal of building capacity.

Tier 2- Targeted Services “targeted to some”

Tier 2 may involve screening and/or short-term consultation.  It happens in a group setting and may use specific resources and screens to determine whether a child requires more individual assessment.  With short-term collaboration, the aim is the achievement of a goal within a specific timeframe, using general strategies that are targeted.


  • Typically involves children with 1-2 areas of concern.
  • For Resource Consultants, verbal or written consent is needed if further screening when more specific screening is warranted. For OT/SLP, documented verbal consent is needed.
  • Typically short-term intervention where only 3-4 visits are needed.
  • General strategies targeting specific children.

Tier 3- Individual Services “specific to one”

Tier 3 involves services aimed at individual children whose needs surpass Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports and are impacting their participation in the program.  This involves team-based collaboration with the child’s support team, which can include educators or caregivers, parents, resource consultants or SPOT therapists.  Working together as a team is essential in successfully supporting the child.  If a child no longer requires Tier 3 supports, they will still be supported at a Tier 1 level.


  • Typically children with multiple areas of development affected or with very significant concerns in one area are eligible.
  • Requires full, signed, and informed consent.
  • Involves long-term goals which consist of more than 3-5 visits for Resource Consultants.
  • Issues impact overall participation in the program.
  • The child may need more in-depth assessments and/or diagnosis.
  • On-going and collaborative team consultations are usually required.
  • The child needs specific strategies, resources, and/or equipment.
  • Transition to school protocol can be followed when a child is in Tier 3.


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