WWC Full Report
Milieu teaching is a practice that involves manipulating or arranging stimuli in a preschool child’s natural environment to create a setting that encourages them to engage in a targeted behavior. For example, a teacher might place a desirable toy in a setting to encourage a student to request that toy (where requesting a toy is the desired target behavior). Typically, milieu teaching involves four strategies that a teacher will utilize to encourage a student to demonstrate a target behavior: modeling, mand-modeling, incidental teaching, and time-delay. Through adult modeling and functional consequences associated with child requests, targeted language behaviors can be improved in children who may have language delays or disabilities.
One study of milieu teaching that falls within the scope of the Early Childhood Education Interventions for Children with Disabilities review protocol meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) evidence standards, and no studies meet WWC evidence standards with reservations. The one study included 40 preschool children with developmental delays (eligible for this topic area) attending two schools in Davidson County, Tennessee.
Based on this one study, the WWC considers the extent of evidence for milieu teaching on preschool children with disabilities to be small for communication/language competencies. Six other domains are not reported in this intervention report.